Court Ruling Fails to Resolve the Issue of Coercive Imposition of Spiritual Practices on Children

VANCOUVER, BC: The Justice Centre today expressed disappointment in the BC Court of Appeal ruling in Servatius v. Board of Education of School District No. 70 (Alberni), and provided the following statement: 

It is the position of the Justice Centre that imposing supernatural or spiritual practices on public school children without parental notification and parental consent, and without even the right for students to opt out is a matter of substantial public concern.  The school failed to provide Ms. Servatius with notice that her child’s classroom and her children would be smudged. The school itself had described the ceremony as seeking to “cleanse the spirits” of the children.

Ms. Servatius and the Justice Centre stand against the governmental imposition of supernatural or spiritual practices and ceremonies on a captive audience of children or adolescents.  From the very beginning of this litigation, Ms. Servatius advised the lower court that she was fine with aboriginal practices and culture being taught in school, provided that religious rituals and spiritual ceremonies are not imposed on children.  

Ms. Servatius is disappointed with the costs award against her.  While the Justice Centre has not indemnified Ms. Servatius, the Justice Centre will accept donations to help cover Ms. Servatius costs at www.jccf.ca/donate