This blog was going to be about Christ the King school principal David Hood encouraging elementary and middle school students to participate in anti-abortion rallies outside the Health Sciences Center. Though not for course credit, the activity was to be counted toward students’ mandatory community service credit, providing incentive for them to participate.
Then the story became national news. And much to the chagrin of anti-abortion extremists everywhere, sanity stepped in.
Once informed of Hood’s proposition, the Selinger government quickly concluded that any school receiving public funding may not engage in such incendiary activities. When the school receiving funding is private, as Christ the King is, the issue becomes even more problematic.
Director of education for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg Catholic schools Robert Praznik chalked Hood’s initiative up to the overzealousness of a new principal, but this seems to be passing the issue off too lightly. I mean, we’re not talking about a principal giving the kids chocolate milk; we’re talking about him attempting to rob his students of a balanced view on an important issue.
Currently, it’s not clear whether or not the Archdiocese of Winnipeg Catholic schools rejected Hood’s initiative on their own basis, or whether they were merely responding to Selinger’s rejection of the idea. However, they reacted strongly in their press release, underlining the fact that the Archdiocese is not a political organization, and that they do not give students credit of any kind for the activities Hood proposes.
In the midst of all this, the question that must be asked is what value Hood foresaw in the activity. It seems to me that encouraging children to protest abortion in front of a hospital would do very little for the children themselves—but very much for the anti-abortion cause. What better way to encourage public sympathy than to have children present? In the press release Praznik stated that the issue of anti-abortion is “close to [Hood]’s heart”, but there is clearly more motivation to get children involved than just good ol’ fashion warm and fuzzy feelings.
It should be noted that Hood did not have immediate plans to enact this anti-abortion rally community service credit—he said he had to “feel out the community first”. Let’s hope that with all the uproar over this issue, the message gets across to him that the community has been felt up enough.