It might not mean the end of Bibles in local public schools, but superintendent Evelyn Novak is recommending the Chilliwack school board scrap a regulation that endorses the distribution of Gideon Youth Testaments to Grade 5 students with parental consent.
In a brief report included in the board’s public meeting agenda for today, Novak recommends the board delete the regulation as “an anomaly to standard board procedure.”
She further recommends the board direct the board policy committee to come up with a policy for the “distribution of materials.”
The recommendations come after the district sought and received legal advice in response to complaints from a local parent.
Richard Ajabu, whose daughter was given a glossy and colourful permission form for a free Bible at her school, said the Gideons’ activity and the regulation that endorses it violate the B.C. School Act, which states public schools must be conducted on “strictly secular and non-sectarian principles.”
But it’s unclear whether deleting administrative regulation 518 would mean the end of free Bibles in Chilliwack public schools.
Administrative regulations, which are developed by the superintendent and don’t need board approval, normally exist only to “provide the detailed procedures” for implementing policies approved by the board, according to School District No. 33’s policy manual.
The Gideons regulation, however, appears to exist in a policy vacuum since the Chilliwack school district doesn’t currently have a policy for the distribution of materials.