By CFI Canada
As a registered educational charity, CFIC’s mandate is to provide education and training to the public in the application of skeptical, secular, rational and humanistic inquiry through conferences, symposia, lectures, published works and the maintenance of a library. As a project to provide a critical thinking educational resource to the public, CFIC’s education committee determined that it would like to provide Richard Dawkins’ The Magic of Reality to students.
Recognizing the opportunity to provide the printed version of The Magic of Reality to a population of students with a demonstrated need for access to an age-appropriate, science-based critical thinking resources, CFIC determined that we would approach the Chilliwack School District – a community where Gideon Bibles have been distributed to Grade 5 students for many years. Following an exhaustive attempt by CFI Canada to work with BC’s Chilliwack School District #33 to provide educational, critical thinking resources to students in their area, CFI Canada has received a letter from the Superintendent of Schools stating,
Thanks you for your continued interest in providing the resource, The Magic of Reality to the Chillwack School District. As per my last correspondence, according to local school policy, the Superintendent reviews all requests for the distribution of materials.
Further to my letter dated January 7, 2015, I have reviewed the resource The Magic of Reality, which you kindly provided. The resource does not meet some of the local Administrative Regulations the district has that provide guidance in the selection of learning resources. Therefore, this resource is not approved for distribution in the Chilliwack School District.
Despite CFIC’s attempts to work within the School District’s policies and procedures dating back to November 2014, CFIC’s attempt to fulfill its mandate has been declined. We are providing documentation of our process to work within the Chilliwack School District’s process for public input.
Why Chilliwack? Gideon Bible Backgrounder
The Chilliwack School District has a long history of promoting Gideon Bible distribution, despite community opposition to that activity. In October of 2012, local parents objected to Gideon Bible distribution with complaints to the provincial Education Minister. Over a period spanning 2012 and 2013, the School District unanimously approved a policy which would allow the distribution of Gideon bibles. The policy states:
Recognized charitable organizations and other organizations having educational or community service attributes may be authorized by the superintendent of schools or the superintendent’s delegate to have information or materials distributed.
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