This is a letter sent to the Hamilton Spectator by Jim Young, secretary of our group, in response to a teacher been removed from class over God exercise. Further details can be found here.
Jim's letter follows:
I am saddened and somewhat concerned that Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has chosen to silence a teacher because his work assignment encouraged thought and critical reasoning from his students. Whether a student and their family are persons of faith, agnostic or atheist, and regardless of which faith, surely questioning the beliefs of ourselves, our families, our educators and indeed our governments is fundamental to the process of making decisions about what our beliefs will be and is therefore an essential skill for all students.
By removing this teacher from his duties the board sends a message to other teachers that critical thinking may endanger their livelihood. If teachers are afraid for their jobs based on this fear we can only conclude that “Thought Chill” will affect the quality of education our teachers are prepared to impart to our children.
Of course parents should be concerned, interested and proactive in the education of their children. But the fact that board education policy appears to be dictated by one parent’s particular religious outlook is scary stuff indeed.
On behalf of thinking parents, students and teachers everywhere, I would urge the board to reconsider this matter with some urgency.