Good News

Everyone who agrees that publicly funding Catholic separate schools in Ontario is discriminatory and fiscally irresponsible will tell you that this Globe and Mail headline is good news: “Student Files Human-Rights Complaint against Catholic High School, Board.”

Claudia Sorgini has filed a human-rights complaint against St. Theresa’s Catholic High School in Midland, ON; the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCASTA) for

“a continuous pattern of discrimination and reprisal in connection with her request for an exemption from religious courses and activities” in her last year of high school, according to her application, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Although Ms. Sorgini received an exemption,

throughout her last year of schooling, Ms. Sorgini stated in her complaint, school administration treated her differently than other students in regards to her schooling and scholarships.

The reasons for Ms. Sorgini’s human-rights complaint will be familiar to many students enrolled in Ontario publicly-funded Catholic schools who applied for an exemption from from religious courses and activities.

As the myexemption.com website makes very clear, the first time a student applies for an exemption the student will encounter a lot of resistance because “the Catholic Administration, Boards and Trustees do not want [students] to exercise” their rights, but their “denial of [students’] access to the exemption is not in compliance with the law.”

A spokesperson for Education Minister Liz Sandals reinforces this message

it is the government’s expectation that all school boards follow the Education Act. The exemption is allowed because Catholic high schools are publicly funded and enrolment is open to non-Catholics.

According to the Globe article,

The issue of granting exemptions from religious studies has some observers wondering if the province really needs a publicly funded separate school system.

While Ontario taxpayers wait for the provincial government to make the right decision: create one secular school system for each official language, Ms. Sorgini and her parents

want Catholic boards to be accountable for the way they treat students and their families.

Ms. Sorgini and her parents deserve congratulations for their courageous efforts on behalf of all Ontario students and their families.

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