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Administrative Procedure 206: Religious and Patriotic Instruction

In accordance with the Education Act, the division supports the offering of religious and patriotic instruction in the schools. Where reasonable, religious and patriotic instruction will respect the individual and cultural needs of students in the communities where they reside. The following procedures shall apply.

  1. The principal shall ensure that the Canadian flag and the Alberta flag are displayed at the school.
  2. Schools may offer religious instruction to students. With respect to religious instruction:
    1. A request for provision of, or changes to, a religious instruction program may be initiated by a group of parents, the school council or the school staff. Such request shall be submitted to the school principal accompanied by a proposal for a draft curriculum.
    2. The principal shall conduct a school-administered survey of parents/guardians who have children enrolled in the school to ascertain whether there is a majority in support of the new program or changes to an existing program. Information shall accompany the survey related to the content of the program, as well as alternate activities intended for children not enrolled in the program.
    3. The principal is responsible for making the final decision with regard to the offering of religious instruction.
    4. Should the decision be to offer religious instruction, parents will be notified of the decision, in writing, prior to the commencement of instruction.
    5. Parents shall provide written consent for the participation of their child/children in the program of religious instruction.
    6. The program shall not commence until all steps outlined above have been completed.
  3. Where a teacher or other person providing religious or patriotic instruction receives a written request signed by a parent of a student, that student may be excluded from religious or patriotic instruction. The teacher shall permit the student to:
    1. Leave the classroom or place where the instruction is taking place for the duration of the instruction; or
    2. Remain in the classroom or place of instruction without taking part in the instruction or exercise.
    3. Adequate supervision and alternate activities having educational value shall be provided for all students who choose not to participate.
  4. The principal shall notify parents of patriotic exercises/ceremonies in the school. Provisions for students whose parents request an exemption from patriotic exercises/ceremonies shall be made similar to those outlined in Procedure 3 above.
  5. Schools may commence school days with the reciting of “The Lord’s Prayer.”
  6. Schools are encouraged to commence school days and special occasions with the playing and/or singing of “O Canada.”
  7. Principals shall arrange for appropriate Remembrance Day ceremonies.
  8. Approval from the Superintendent shall be obtained before any changes to religious and patriotic instruction are made.

Education Act