Christian school on the Alberta prairie fights to keep its doors open after board orders closure

Little school on the prairie in Alberta fights to keep its doors open after board orders closure

The State
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[CBC News] A group that represents parents from a Christian academy in central Alberta is seeking a court injunction to try to stop the board from shutting down the school at the end of next month.

Battle River School Division decided a year ago to terminate the agreement it had with the parents-representation society of Cornerstone Christian Academy, about 75 kilometres southeast of Edmonton. Last week the board voted unanimously to officially close the school.

VIDEO: [Rebel Media] Sheila Gunn Reid presents the background and an update on Cornerstone Christian Academy’s fight for the right to teach the Alberta curriculum from a Biblical perspective.

About 170 students attend Cornerstone, which has a small faculty of about a dozen. The parents’ group used to run the academy, independent of the school division. For the past 10 years, the group has overseen the religious component.

The group has filed an application for a judicial review. No date has been set to hear that application.

In the meantime, the group is seeking a court injunction to stop the school closure. The application is scheduled to be heard on May 17.

James Kitchen, a lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, is working with the parents’ group on the legal action.

“Parents have a right … to educate their children as they see fit, and parents have a right to associate with each other to develop religious institutions, religious educational institutions,” Kitchen said. “Those schools are not only permitted to exist as independent schools in Alberta, they are permitted to exist as alternative programs under Section 21 of the School Act and be part of public school divisions, such as Battle River.”

Bible verse dispute

In January 2017, the school division asked the society to remove a scripture reference from the document that spells out the school’s religious character, Kitchen said, noting Cornerstone eventually acceded to the request.

Several Bible verses were allegedly intended to be included in a handbook for students. The school division believed those might contravene the provincial human right’s code.

This article continues at [CBC News] Alberta Christian academy seeks court injunction to stop closure

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