Petition Notice

School religious exercises/instruction will commence at such a time and in such a manner that logistical requirements related to the pandemic can be addressed.

Petition for Religious Exercises (2020-21)

Hanover School Division Board of Trustees has received a petition requesting that religious exercises be held at Kleefeld School during the 2020-21 school year. The petitioners have specified their desire for the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and the reading of a Bible passage or story from the Bible. As the petition bears the signatures of parents/guardians representing more than 60 students in the school, the Board of Trustees has authorized religious exercises as specified above. These exercises are to be held before the official instructional day, in a designated common area of the school.

Petition for Religious Instruction (2020-21)

Hanover School Division Board of Trustees has received a petition requesting that religious instruction be held at Kleefeld School during the 2020-21 school year. The petitioners have specified their desire for the Discovery Time Program offered by Child Evangelism Fellowship. As the petition bears the signatures of parents/guardians representing more than 25 students in the school, the Board of Trustees has passed the required by-law permitting religious instruction as specified above. This instruction is to be offered by volunteers during designated half-hour per week classes.

Parents/Guardians who did not sign the submitted petitions are eligible to join by delivering a signed note to the school office. The note must indicate the student’s name, their grade, and include a parent/guardian signature. The school principal will forward all received documentation to the HSD Administration Office. Only children whose parents/guardians signed the petition or have subsequently joined via permission note, may participate in the exercises and instruction as described above.


 
  • Religious Exercises
  • Religious Instruction

The Public Schools Act states that public schools shall be non-sectarian. Religious exercises may only be conducted where a petition asking for such exercises (signed by the parents/guardians of 75% of the students in the case of a school having fewer than 80 students or by the parents/guardians of at least 60 students in schools having an enrolment of 80 or more students) is presented to the school board.

Legislative Reference – The Public Schools Act, Section 84(1), (8) Manitoba Regulation 554/88, Sections 1, 3, 4(2), 4(3)

Religious Exercises are to be conducted in a particular school only after the requirements of subsection 84(8) of The Public Schools Act have been met, a petition has been directed to the local school board, and the school board instructs that school to make the necessary arrangements.

Once religious exercises are instituted by petition in a school, only those children whose parents/guardians have signed the petition may participate (opt-in process is required). Petitions respecting religious exercises must be received by the school board each school year, and be on a school by school basis.

Teachers and other staff are not compelled to conduct or supervise religious exercises. Participation by staff must be voluntary. If teachers and other staff are unwilling to conduct or supervise such exercises, alternate arrangements must be made. This may involve requesting members of the parents’ group petitioning for the exercises to conduct the activity themselves. The principal will be responsible for determining the appropriate supervisory arrangements.

Where petitioned, religious exercises are to be held each teaching day, and shall be no longer than ten minutes in duration. The exercises are not to be held during regular instructional time. Instructional time is to be preserved and religious exercises held either prior to the start of the school day or during noon recess.

The Public School Act allows for religious instruction in schools. This is reflected in The Public Schools Act, Sections 80-83. Instruction in religion may be conducted in any school in Manitoba if authorized by a by-law passed by the school board. It is important to note that there is a distinction between religious instruction and religious exercises.

School boards are required to pass a by-law authorizing religious instruction if a petition is presented to the school board. The parents or guardians of at least 10 children attending a school having one or two classrooms must sign the petition. For a school having three or more classrooms the parents or guardians of at least 25 children attending the school must sign the petition.

Authorized religious instruction, may take place during school hours and on such days as approved by the school board by-law, but shall not exceed 2 ½ hours per week. The instruction shall be conducted by a clergyman, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader or by a representative of parents recognized by the school board as constituting a religious group or by any person including a teacher, duly authorized by such clergyman, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader.

Where the parent or guardian of a pupil who is under the age of majority does not want the child to participate in the religious instructions or where an age of majority student does not want to participate in the religious instruction, they must be excused from participating therein.