Red Deer Catholic suspends relationship with pro-life group over controversial anti-abortion video

Red Deer Catholic suspends relationship with pro-life group over controversial anti-abortion video

[Pro-life grouppersona non grata in Canadian “Catholic” school system: Will Planned Parenthood fill the gap?]

By Troy Gillard
April 28, 2017

A Red Deer school division is suspending its relationship with a local pro-life group after one of its representatives showed a video to high school students that likened abortion to the Holocaust.

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools came under fire after it was learned that a presenter with “Red Deer & Area Pro-Life” showed the video to Grade 10 students at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School in March.

The incident prompted district leadership to conduct a thorough review of its screening process and to develop new guidelines for including third party presentations in its religious instruction.

In a statement released late Friday afternoon, Red Deer Catholic says it remains committed to teaching students that, “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” as described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

RDCRS says it is suspending its invitation to Red Deer & Area Pro-Life to present in their classrooms.

“We feel that we did not provide clear enough expectations for the Red Deer & Area Pro-Life presenter,” says Board Chair Guy Pelletier. “We apologize to this organization, as well as anybody that was offended by the pedagogical strategies used to achieve our intended outcome, including our students and parents and guardians.”

Red Deer Catholic says its new set of procedures will:

– Clearly align a third party presentation with the intended outcomes within its classrooms, and

– Ensure that the strategies used to achieve those outcomes are appropriate and respectful to the students of the division.

Also, RDCRS says its professional teaching staff will be, “provided clear direction on how they will be involved before, during and after any presentation to ensure the integrity of the lesson is retained.”

“Our teachers have established positive relationships with students and they know the curriculum best. This makes them the person who can most effectively deliver the curricular outcomes in a way that respects the individual needs of the students,” explains Superintendent, Dr. Paul Mason.

Senior leaders with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools are currently developing these procedures and working with the school-based administration teams to vet any future presentations until these procedures can be formally included in the division’s Administrative Procedures.

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