1.03.2013

Exemptions from RC religion classes

If, for any reason, a student who is not a member of the Roman Catholic church wishes to attend a Roman Catholic separate high school, that student is required by the school to take courses in religion and to participate in religious services such as Mass.
            However, under the Ontario Education Act, section 42, articles 11 to 13, copied below, allow a student to be exempt “…from programs and courses of study in religious education…”
Exemption from religious studies
(11)  On written application, a Roman Catholic board shall exempt a person who is qualified to be a resident pupil in respect of a secondary school operated by a public board from programs and courses of study in religious education if,
(a) the person is enrolled in a program that is not otherwise available to the person in a secondary school operated by a public board within the area of jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic board; or
(b) it is impractical by reason of distance or terrain or by reason of physical handicap, mental handicap or multi-handicap for the person to attend a secondary school operated by a public board. 1997, c. 31, s. 20.
Same
(12)  A person who is qualified to be a resident pupil in respect of a secondary school operated by a public board who attends a secondary school operated by a Roman Catholic board for a reason other than the one mentioned in clause (11) (a) or (b) is considered to have enrolled in all of the school’s programs and courses of study in religious education. 1997, c. 31, s. 20.
Additional exemptions
(13)  In addition to the exemptions provided for in subsection (11), no person who is qualified to be a resident pupil in respect of a secondary school operated by a public board who attends a secondary school operated by a Roman Catholic board shall be required to take part in any program or course of study in religious education on written application to the Board of,
(a) the parent or guardian of the person;
(b) in the case of a person who is 16 or 17 years old who has withdrawn from parental control, the person himself or herself;
(c) in the case of a person who is 18 years old or older, the person himself or herself. 2006, c. 28, s. 9.        
            Despite the law as written above, most, if not all, Roman Catholic separate high schools will not grant an exception without a fight. 
If you know any parents who are looking for other parents that are seeking the exemption for their child, or have received the exemption and would like to help others obtain the same, please have them get in touch with CRIPE and we will put them in contact with persons who have experience with this issue. 
Civil Rights in Public Education Inc.
www.CRIPEweb.org(613) 735-5069publiced@igs.net

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