The right to have a publicly funded separate denominational school is guaranteed under the Canadian Constitution. As it stands today, there are 29 english Catholic and 8 French Catholic Boards across Ontario, which are all publically funded through government tax dollars. So what’s the difference? Why are there two different types of school board that students can attend? What makes them so different? The season that we are currently in is supposed to show the true difference between the two different types of schools, because it is Christmas! It is a time for Catholics to prepare for the coming of Jesus’ birth, and remember all that he did for us while he was on earth. This message should be clear when you walk into a Catholic school, right? As I walk through the halls of my Catholic school, I don’t see a difference. There are few decorations on the boards, and Christmas festive colours on the walls. It seems Halloween was a bigger deal to our school than Christmas, what with the dance and decorations and friendly contests throughout the season.
So, has Jesus been replaced by goblins? Should we start calling ourselves Hallo-Christians, instead of Catholics? Even in our classrooms, I see nothing religious representing our faith during this important time of the year. A nativity scene, something so simple and classic, is missing everywhere I look. The moment when Christ came into the world, in a small cold barn, is an essential part of our faith, and I don’t see it anywhere. Where did Christmas go? Wr are supposed to be a CAtholic school, showing our love to God and Jesus during Advent and Christmas, and it seems to have disappeared. Now, I admit, we have a Sing-a-long where the whole school comes and pretends to be enthusiastic about Christmas songs, but even then, are they really Christmas songs?Frosty and Rudolph don’t exactly show the difference between a Catholic and Public school. Where is the Christmas Concert, where students show their talents and faith on stage? This may be the only time when kids my age get to be on stage, and its gone.
My last year in elementary school, and there’s nothing. Yes, we have door decorations, but is that all? Does anyone even notice? Where is the Christmas spirit in our school community? There is currently a lawsuit in effect by Charles Pascal, which was just featured on CBC about his fight against the government funding Catholic schools as a separate school system. He argues that there needs to be an “end to public dollars paying for Catholics schools in the province,” because the violates the Charter of rights and Freedoms.
Instead Pascal calls for one secular school system, because if there is no difference between the Catholic and Public school system, the why have two? It begs the question of what makes a Catholic school different? Is it Christmas? Is it Easter? Is it the ability to have religion spread through the words and lessons of the daily curriculum, regardless of the subject? It is all of these things and more! WE know that there is a difference, but not we must show that there is a difference, and what better place to start than with a simple nativity scene during the season of Christmas.