The Limestone District School Board has issued a a public response from the Director of Education related to recent media stories and enquiries from parents and the general public clarifying the LDSB’s philosophy and practice as they relate to holiday celebrations and recognition in their schools.
The release from Director of Education, Brenda Hunter, is as follows:
In response to recent media stories and enquiries from parents and the general public, I wish to clarify Limestone District School Board’s philosophy and practice as they relate to holiday celebrations and recognition in our schools.
The Limestone District School Board most certainly allows Christmas celebrations in schools, taking an inclusive approach not only to decorations, but to learning in general. This may include Christmas trees, garlands and other decorations in schools and offices, but also stories, crafts, songs and holiday learning activities in classrooms. However, Limestone is proud to be a fully inclusive school board, committed to equity and inclusion and welcoming all students from every background and learning need. Our goal is to be inclusive, not exclusive. So, we encourage our schools to embrace the wonderful opportunities that celebrations of all faiths and cultures provide to help students learn about and appreciate the differences and commonalities amongst people: to value customs, celebrations, and most importantly, each other.
For example, at Central Public School, this year, they have set aside a morning with a series of workshops in which students will be learning from community members about seven different faiths. The experience was united around the universal principle of the ‘Golden Rule.’ Finding similarities among different cultures and religions is a great way to help raise a generation of Canadians who are accepting of one another and committed to peace and understanding.
If you visit almost any school in Limestone during this holiday season you will also see students, staff, school councils and parents deeply engaged in philanthropic activities like the Toy Drive, mitten trees, Clothes for Kids, and the Salvation Army Christmas Hamper Drive, to name just a few. The development of kind and caring citizens is an important tenet of all faiths and cultures and a cornerstone of the Limestone District School Board.
Limestone staff routinely provide both curricular and extra-curricular experiences that recognize a variety of holidays and observances from many cultures and faiths. They continually strive to model good citizenship, ensuring that all students, colleagues and families feel welcome and safe in our schools. We believe that every student should receive the high quality education they need to be successful in an ever-changing world. That philosophy is in action in our schools, every day of the year.
Lastly, the Limestone District School Board supports the safety commitment of Tri-Board Transportation Services, which is governed by its own distinct policies and regulations, designed foremost to ensure the well-being of all students within the five Eastern Ontario School Boards it serves.
~ Brenda Hunter, Director of Education