Public Catholic school suspends students for wearing pro-choice stickers

Seven students at a publicly funded Catholic school* in Thunder Bay, Ontario have been suspended from school for wearing homemade pro-choice t-shirts on a day that the school administration had devoted to a "pro-life" Day of Silence. 23 kids wore the shirts, and seven refused to remove them when instructed to do so by the school's administration. Five of the seven were sent home for the day; two others were given two-day suspensions for swearing at teachers during the heated discussion of their protest.

The St. Patrick's Catholic High School students were either sent home or suspended for refusing to remove green pieces of tape with the word "choice" during a pro-life event Thursday, organized by a school chaplain and a student group, in which students sported similar labels with the word "life."

Among the students sent home was Alexandria Szeglet, 15, who initiated the protest after telling her mother that morning she disagreed with the event. Ann Szeglet responded, "Be peaceful about it. Don't make it a big deal."

"I was really respectful, but I just think the school goes a little further than a high school should [in] saying prolife," Alexandria said.

*Ontario's public education system is split into four subsystems: French, English, French-Catholic and English-Catholic; it's a product of the delicate negotiation that led to the merger of French and English Canada in the nineteenth century. Catholic schools receive a double-dose of funds, one from the taxpayers, the other from the Church. I sometimes do talks at Catholic schools when I tour in Canada; interestingly, the last couple schools I've been to had a large number of girls in hijabs and boys who self-identified as Muslim. When I asked a teacher why Muslim parents would enroll their children in a Catholic school, she said that sex education in the Catholic system is less explicit and thorough than in the secular schools, so conservative Muslim parents enroll their children and instruct them to ignore all religious elements of the school.

Pro-choice stickers lead to student suspensions

(Thanks, NoDeg, via Submitterator)

(Image: CBC/Strombo)