A Catholic school in Winnipeg is giving students community service credit for participating in anti-abortion vigils outside a local hospital. And the principal has plans to make the vigils an official school activity in the future.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, principal David Hood of Christ the King School announced Tuesday that vigils organized by the Campaign Life Coalition outside the local Women's Hospital will count toward students' community service requirements. He says the protests are voluntary and that "there's nothing organized at school," but he has advertised them in the school newsletter. And he says they could become an official school activity by next year.
Christ the King receives funding from the government, which makes their implicit endorsement of a political position especially problematic. Lori Johnson of the Klinic Community Health Centre and the Sexuality Education Research Centre says the move "is ill-considered by any school, public or private. It should be at the cost of losing their public funding." She adds that even a Catholic school shouldn't be encouraging kids to take a particular political position.
She has a point — by giving kids community service credit for an anti-abortion vigil, the school is essentially recruiting students to advance a political end. And the students may not really know what they're getting into. Christ the King only goes up to the 8th grade, which means its students are young and impressionable. They may not have lived long enough to think through complex political issues, or to consider the ramifications of restricting abortion rights. The younger ones may not have had sex ed yet. By giving students school credit for anti-choice vigils, Christ the King is basically using them as free ideological labor — which is doubly disturbing since some of them may not even know how babies are made.
Anti-Abortion Vigil Earns Credit [Winnipeg Free Press]
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