Published On: Fri, Sep 20th, 2019

Quebec’s teacher shortage grows as they praise religious symbol ban, ‘secularism law is working’

Quebec’s education minister Jean-Francois Roberge said on Wednesday that the three teachers who recently removed their religious symbols in order to get a teaching contract are proof that the Legault government’s secularism law is working.

“I think it’s proof that the law is a good law, it’s a moderate law, it’s easy to apply and teachers and students understand the law,” Roberge said.

Saudi woman driving, photo screenshot YouTube

The law, which bans some public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols at work, has been creating confusion in the public education system.

New teachers are banned from wearing symbols such as a hijab, turban or kippa under the law.

“I understand some people living in this type of climate are thinking about whether they want to stay in public schools,” said Catherine Beauvais-St-Pierre, president of the Alliance des professeures et professeurs de Montréal.

“[The law] opens a door to certain consequences,” Beauvais-St-Pierre said. “When we teach, there’s an openness. We teach about how to live in a society.”

She said it’s going to take some time before all the effects that the law has on the education sector will be known, and that the sector will have to learn how to manage each type of case as they come.

“In the meantime, we’re low on teachers — and teachers are exhausted,” Beauvais-St-Pierre said.

Boards are frustrated and Roberge doubled down: “The law is the law, and we will apply the law. Each school board has the obligation to apply the law.”

“We’re telling people they have to remove religious symbols. It’s sad,” said English Montreal School Board (EMSB) chair Angela Mancini.

“It’s deplorable, it really is deplorable to think that people have to give up their beliefs to keep a job.”

While the EMSB has no reported incidents of teachers removing religious symbols in order to be eligible for work, its chairperson worries more teachers will be faced with the same dilemma.

“It’s going to keep happening because there are some school boards that have decided not to see people in interviews,” said Mancini, referring to the decision she said some boards have taken to rule out internships by teaching students who wear visible religious symbols.

“I think what they’re doing now is going to cause less acceptance of others,” she said.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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