Toronto board votes 11-9 [to create an Africentric school] after meeting filled with passionate pleas and dire warnings
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The day after trustees voted to establish what is being called the country’s first Africentric alternative school – expected to open in September 2009 – Gerry Connelly said if a lot of parents want to enrol their children, the board would consider opening up another.
Didn’t Toronto voters universally reject the notion that schools should be segregated along religious lines? Didn’t that cost Ontario P.C. Leader John Tory the election last Fall? And the difference between a school focused on race and a school tied to one religion is…?
Down at One Yonge Street, The Toronto Star has concluded, without a hint of irony, that there’s something different between a school focused on a single race and a school focused on a single religion.
Provincial Education Minister Kathleen Wynne said yesterday that “We’ve been clear from the beginning of this discussion that our preference was to have kids learning in inclusive environments and inclusive classrooms. I made it clear in my remarks, and they know there is not special funding for alternative programs or alternative schools. They have to find that within their own budgets.” I think she’s saying they can do want they want.
Does that mean the Toronto School Board is free to set up new religious-centric schools, as long as they can find the funding within their own budgets?
Here’s an idea for Toronto religious leaders: wait for the Africentric school to be built, then hold a fundraiser to get the funds together to pay for a Muslim/Christian/etc.-centric school. Ask the Toronto School Board to build you a new school with these funds. When they refuse, as I’m sure they will, ask Canada’s Supreme Court to intervene.
After all, Canada’s Constitution says:
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Once they agree to build a school for one race, how can they possibly refuse to build one for a particular religion, or gender for that matter, under the supreme law of the land?