‘Practicing Magic In School’

British Columbia law is very clear in not allowing ANY religious ceremonies in public schools {See below}. In what is becoming an all-too-prevalent double standard, this doesn’t seem to apply to aboriginal religious ceremonies: 

“A B.C. mother is asking a court to intervene in her ‘freedom of religion’ complaint against her children’s school, after an in-class aboriginal ceremony to “cleanse” their spirits and classroom to ensure “only good things will happen”. 

“Candice Servatius, whose two children attended the school, is concerned with the religious nature of the event that would violate provincial legislation, she says in documents filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

“A letter to parents said the ceremony would be led by a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth, a group of West Coast ‘First Nations’ {‘Siberian settlers’}, and outlined their belief “everything is one; all is connected” and “everything has a spirit and energy”.

“The cleansing ceremony at ‘John Howitt Elementary School’ in Port Alberni came at the start of the 2015 school year.

“The students would

“experience cleansing of energy from previous students in our classroom, previous energy in our classroom and cleanse our own spirits to allow GREAT new experiences to occur for all of us”, it added.

“Each student would be “smudged” by having smoke from burning sage fanned over the body and spirit. The classroom and furniture was also to be cleansed, erasing

“bad energy, bullying, accidents, sad circumstances… and ensure the room is safe for all and only good things will happen.”

“The letter did not say when the ceremony would take place.

“Servatius went to the school the next day to discuss her concerns over an event “of a spiritual nature” taking place in the classroom, she said in court documents, but she was told the event had already happened.

“Her son, in Grade 3 at the time, received the letter; her daughter, in Grade 5, did not, she said. Her daughter was told that everyone had to take part and that

it would be disrespectful if they did not”,

she said in a letter of complaint to the school board.

“Her daughter experienced anxiety because she “feared consequences … and was told that it would be rude” to leave.

“Four months later, the mother said, the school hosted another ‘First Nations’ event at the school that featured a prayer.

“Servatius said she supports her children learning about other cultures and traditions but does not agree with

“the forced participation in spiritual/religious practices.”

“Through her lawyer, Servatius declined an interview.

“John Carpay, a Calgary-based lawyer and president of the ‘Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms’ {https://www.jccf.ca/ }, which is championing her case, said the school violated Servatius’s rights under the ‘Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ and also violated the ‘B.C. School Act’.

“This says

no religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school.”

“It is entirely appropriate to teach students about other religions but there is a huge difference between teaching children about a religion and coercing them to participate in a religious practice”, Carpay said.


“Either you allow religion in school and open the gates wide — and then you allow the ‘Our Father’ prayer of Christians, roll out the prayer rugs and pray towards Mecca, and conduct an aboriginal spiritual smudging ceremony — or the door is closed and it is closed for everybody”, he said.


“You can’t have a double standard.”

“The school has just learned of the court petition and will study it before commenting, said Greg Smyth, superintendent of schools for ‘School District 70’.

“All of our schools operate on a secular, inclusive and non-discriminatory basis”, he said. “But there is teaching and learning about different cultures and traditions, and that’s an important part of learning.”

“Servatius is seeking a court order declaring that the school imposed prayer, religious ritual and spiritual practice on children, violating the charter’s freedom of religion clause.

“She also seeks a ban on further religious exercises at any school event and her court costs. The school district has 21 days to respond.”

–‘B.C. mother asks court to keep aboriginal ‘cleansing’ ceremony out of public schools’,
Adrian Humphreys, National Post, November 15, 2016



Feature IMAGE: Amber Bracken – Postmedia

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

COMMENT: “I completely agree. They’ve yanked the Lord’s Prayer out of schools because of those exact same concerns about freedom of religion. So if one faith gets taken out of the schools, ALL of them get taken out. And that includes the gender-segregated Muslim prayer services held during class hours in some Toronto schools.”
“So it would be acceptable to you to allow a Catholic priest into the school to baptise all the kids or require them to recite the shahada? If I read the article correctly, this was not a social studies lesson. They were being required to participate in a religious ceremony by command of the school. Utterly unacceptable.”
“Can we require all students to participate in Christian ceremonies and deem it disrespectful if they refuse?”
“In B.C. in particular, the statute law and case law is clear — no religion (and that is broadly defined) in our public schools. BC public schools cannot require prayer, religious practises or reading of religious texts in school. But this was not always the case.

“Until 1989, the ‘BC School Act’ said that all public schools had to open classes with the reading of passages from the Bible and a Christian prayer. In the case of ‘Russow v British Columbia’, the BC Supreme Court decided that this violated freedom of religion because it imposed the majority religion on minorities. The British Columbia Supreme Court incorporated the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in ‘Zylberberg’ (see below) in its entirety.

“As a result, the BC government changed the School Act to ensure secularism in public schools and the BC School Act now provides:

“76 (1) All schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles.


“(2) The highest morality must be inculcated, but no religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school or Provincial school.”

“Court rulings across Canada that have found mandatory religious exercises violate Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. ‘Zylbergerg v. Sudbury Board of Education (1988)’, 65 O.R. (2d) 641, 29 O.A.C. 23 (C.A.) determined that a law compelling public schools to hold prayer sessions violates the Charter’s freedom of conscience and religion section, even if the law exempts a student from attending as an option.”
“Based on the language used, it’s sounds like this First Nation has “culturally appropriated” the jargon of New Age mysticism. What hell is “spiritual cleansing”?”
“In our local elementary schools we cant even have a Christmas concert. Some have nothing and some have a Winter concert. Yet our children are taught the seven sacred teachings of aboriginals as a way of life. If schools are to be secular make it 100% secular for everyone. So far, our kids havent been exposed to smudging and as they are asthmatic that would not be ideal.”
“And why do we have a Native Ceremony at a First Ministers Conference? The Ministers where there because they elected are represntatives. The natives partly because their race and partly because of their sham “elections” on reserves. Not scrutinised by Elections Canada . They have become a level of government based on thuggery and nepotism.”
“At a recent art show I participated in, one of the artists smudged the hall and all the paintings. I was livid … didn’t know this was going to be done. It smelled awful.”
“Nothing to do with religion at all. Its all about “I am a FN and can do what I want in the name of my culture”. Tantamount to a slap in the face of a ‘white man’.”
“Wouldn’t it be just as essential to teach about the religion of the people (British and French) who created Canada? Wouldn’t it be more essential to teach about the society we live in now rather than the pre-1600 Aboriginal society which has been overtaken by modern times and which has almost no impact on the lives of present-day Aboriginals and other Canadian citizens.”


British Columbia ‘SCHOOL ACT’:
“76 (1) All schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles.

(2) The highest morality must be inculcated, but no religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school or Provincial school.



“Stephen Bunn likes to smudge to start his day.

“I smudge just to make myself feel good and to hope me and my family have a good day… I use it to send prayers out and to stay positive.”

“Bunn is in Grade 11 at ‘Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School’ in Brandon, Man. Last November, after smudging before school, Bunn was stopped by a teacher and asked if he had been smoking drugs. He says he tried to explain to the teacher that the smell was from burning sage and not illegal drugs.

“He continued his practice of smudging before school but soon ended up in the principal’s office.

“The last thing the school told me was if I was going to smudge, then get your mom to excuse you for the day, get her to call in… If I was to smudge, they wouldn’t want me to attend school.”

“‘CBC News’ contacted the ‘Brandon School Division’ for an interview and received a statement back saying officials are working with an aboriginal elder

“to arrive at a solution that respects aboriginal traditions, while also ensuring a comfortable learning environment for its students.”

“But the school board also pointed out that it has a scent-free/fragrance-free policy:

“Every effort will be made to limit exposure to strong scents and fragrances in the environment that cause discomfort or impact the health of sensitive individuals.”

“Bunn said he stopped smudging after that because he felt embarrassed and ashamed.

“I felt pretty mad and discouraged about it. I felt like I wasn’t really … accepted because of me practising my traditional beliefs.”

“Earlier this week, he told his aunt about the experience, and she encouraged him to continue with his spiritual practice and to make a video about his experience…

“Bunn’s mother, Sandy Bunn, said she couldn’t believe the school took issue with her son’s smudging.

“Dakotas, you know, we’ve been around for generations”{???} she said. “For this to be still happening in 2014 … it should not be happening.”

“Her son said he hopes his video will encourage other students to keep practising their culture.

“What I hope comes out of this is having aboriginal kids going out and not feeling scared to smudge and … say, like, ‘I’m proud to be an aboriginal'”, he said.”

–‘First Nations’ teen told not to smudge before school’,
Connie Walker, CBC News, Feb 05, 2014

COMMENT: “Stephen bunn is my son Stephen my son don’t let them white teachers discourage you in any way your a strong young man the Dakota way is our way do what you have to you are who you are keep on smudging my son”


See also:

The British Columbia government has adopted the position that science itself is only “provisional” and a ‘Eurocentric’ cultural viewpoint:

“…We are aware that our scientific knowledge is provisional and culturally-derived.”

This is part of the new “aboriginal perspectives” that now undermine the education of all B.C. children.

So, the next time you witness the effects of gravity, remember — it’s only your “cultural perspective” that makes it seem that way….

–‘Education: Honouring the Ignorance of Our Ancestors’ (Widdowson) {January 27, 2014}:

‘The ‘Indigenization’ and ‘Racialization’ of Canadian Universities’ {September 25, 2016}:
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