After students at Notre Dame High School were shown a video comparing abortion to the Holocaust, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) has suspended its invitation to Red Deer & Area Pro-Life to present in their classrooms.
The presentation was shown to Grade 10 students in March. A student reportedly recorded the presentation with their phone and sent it to Alberta Education.
Officials with Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools say they remain 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.
After introspection, the leadership of RDCRS is developing a guiding set of procedures for including third party presentations in their religious instruction.
“We feel that we did not provide clear enough expectations for the Red Deer & Area Pro-Life presenter. 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/guardians,” said Board Chair Guy Pelletier.
The new set of procedures will clearly align a third party presentation with the intended outcomes within the district’s classrooms, and ensure the strategies used to achieve these outcomes are appropriate and respectful to the students of the division.
The 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,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Mason.
Senior leaders 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.