SURREY – A three-day reading of the Sikh holy book planned by some parents of students at Senator Reid Elementary school is causing controversy.
The reading, or Akhand Path, is planned for Nov. 11, 12 and 13, all days when the school will be closed and no classes held. Nov. 11 is Remembrance Day, Nov. 12 is a professional development day and the 13th is a Saturday.
The event organizers, led by members of the school’s parent advisory council, want to rent space in Senator Reid for the reading.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/canada/32828-sikh-days-surrey-school-provoke-parents.html
The final day would include a “celebration of peace” with poems, songs and prayers presented by students from many backgrounds, including Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, agnostics and others.
Senator Reid is in Whalley and has been designated a community school, one that is made available for use as a community centre when school is out. Organizers sent home a letter with Sikh students outlining the plan and asking for parent volunteers to help with the event.
One parent, who asked that her name not be published, thinks the whole thing is wrong. She is Sikh and fears repercussions from others in the community for opposing the Akhand Path.
“First of all, Nov. 11 is Remembrance Day and we should acknowledge that. It’s also my understanding that in Canada, religion and state should not mix,” the woman, whose children go to Senator Reid, said.
“There is a shift to a Sikh perspective at the school and I don’t think that’s right. We are planting the seed of ‘everybody’s different.’”
The proper place for an event such as the reading is in the temple, not in a school, she said.
“I think it’s wrong – it’s just wrong.”
School district spokesman Doug Strachan said the planned event conforms to district policy regarding the use of school property outside classroom hours.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=32828
“We’ve been renting school facilities to various churches for a long time. It’s part of our goal to use schools as community centres,” he said.
“It’s not a district-run event or a school-run event and the parents in that group are entitled to use the school.”
Strachan said the event is a fundraiser for the school PAC and the district will consider a request from the organizers to have the rental fees waived.
The dissenting parent had a problem with that, too.
“Bottom line, at the end of the day, it’s taxpayers’ money. All taxpayers.”
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