A more factual account of my motion re: Grad Ceremony Participation. (Note the misleading statement in 1st paragraph suggesting an end to religion classes is later clarified in article.) 

Catholic trustee leaving optional religion proposal in hands of administration

‘I think it’s been brought to the forefront, the administration is aware of the issue.

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Edmonton Catholic School Board Trustee Marilyn Bergstra.

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Edmonton Catholic School Board Trustee Marilyn Bergstra.

An Edmonton Catholic School Board Trustee who asked for an end to mandatory religion courses said she will probably not bring the motion back, after it was voted off the agenda at a board meeting earlier this month.

“If I see that the public starts to write in or demand that we re-examine it or something, then absolutely I will (bring it back),” Marilyn Bergstra said Friday.

“But I think it’s been brought to the forefront, the administration is aware of the issue, and I’m going to leave it in their good hands to determine what they feel is the next best step.”

Bergstra proposed a motion April 18 to allow all Catholic high school students who have met Alberta Education’s graduation requirements to participate in grad commencement ceremonies, regardless of whether they’ve completed their religion credits.

Catholic high schools require students to complete nine religion credits if they want to walk across the stage at grad, even though religion courses are not required to earn a high school diploma.

“I’m certainly not trying to suggest that religion in Catholic education is not important, because it absolutely is,” Bergstra said.

“I would like to see some flexibility, because the premise behind high school is they do have choices. They have choice as to the subjects and we don’t know what they’re going through.

“Maybe they’re trying to get into engineering, or they’re working two or three jobs, so this additional requirement – it might seem at a glance that it’s not a big deal, but is it fair to assume it’s always not a big deal?”

Bergstra’s motion eluded debate at the April 18 meeting as a majority of trustees voted it off the agenda.

Edmonton Catholic Schools spokesperson Lori Nagy said the district does not have an official policy of excluding students from commencement if they haven’t completed their religion credits, though she acknowledged it is common practice.

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