I’m writing this letter in response to radio comments from Premier Alison Redford, who said she was disappointed that Edmonton Public Schools would allow students to sit out Remembrance Day ceremonies. While I too find it disappointing that anyone would put their own wants or needs above the sacrifice of others, I would like to point out that this is by no means a simple or singular issue.
At the forefront is the issue of students being allowed to “skip out” on an event that is meant to honour the men and women that fought and are still fighting for the freedom of our country, but underneath are the issues pertaining to why some parents would not want their children to attend.
By its very nature, a public school must try to be appealing to and accommodating of everyone in the general public. Like a reporter who is charged with serving the public by sharing the news in a non-biased, neutrally opinionated manner, a school serving the public is charged with the task of teaching our children in a neutral manner. The only entirely neutral subject I am aware of is math. Every other subject (reading, writing, social studies, science, economics and even health) will invariably run into issues of contention based on differences of opinion.
The reason for allowing parents to pull their children out of ceremonies, as cited by Edmonton Public Schools, was based on the fact that some ceremonies would include prayer.
As a parent, I will defend a parent’s right to make the final decision regarding what our kids are “taught.” But the fact that there are people out there who are so closed-minded to any way of thinking but their own that they would deprive their children of the opportunity to participate in honouring those that have sacrificed their lives for this country is appalling. Every day, we should remember that each of our lives was bought at a price and be thankful.