It is a topic which raises an eyebrow when it comes up: prayer in a public school.
It isn’t something seen very often, but it does happen, including in the South East Cornerstone Public School Division.
A section of the province’s Education Act makes it possible for a school to request the ability to conduct religious exercises and prayer without explanation.
“The board of education of any school division can pass a resolution that may direct the exercises preceding the regular day’s program of instruction they could be opened with a reading or recitation, without comment or explanation, of prayer,” explained Lynn Little, the director of education in the South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD).
There are certain conditions which apply for a school to make the request of the board of education, though. Little explained the request must come from, and be supported by, the School Community Council, it is made up of, and representative of, parents in the community. Students aren’t obligated to participate in the practice, either.
If the parent’s desire, students wouldn’t be obligated to participate in the prayer.
In southeast Saskatchewan, there are just four public schools which have requested having a prayer or moment of reflection to begin the school day. Queen Elizabeth School in Weyburn, Gladmar Regional School, Carievale School and MacLeod Elementary School in Moosomin are the four schools who requested, and received approval for the prayer.
Each year, the request must be renewed and approved by the board. The most recent approval came at the board meeting held on September 12th.