[ 47] Second, the law recognizes the primacy of parental rights
and provides parents with a measure of control over the education of their children. The extent of that measure of control is
contested in this appeal.
[ 48] Third, much is at stake for the appellant as a parent, and he
makes a plausible claim that the school board’s decision to refuse
to provide him with the accommodation he seeks limits his freedom of religion. His claim meets the first half of the first step of the
Doré/Loyola framework: his religious freedom is implicated.
[ 49] Fourth, I am unable to find, based on the evidence, that
the appellant has proven substantial interference with his freedom of religion, as the balance of the first step of the Doré/Loyola
framework would require. I would join with my colleague and
dismiss the appeal on this basis.
[ 50] Fifth, although I would dismiss the appeal, I would
refrain from applying the proportionality analysis from the
Doré/Loyola framework and I would not approve the school
board’s decision or the program on which it was based; I have serious concerns about the application of this framework to line decision makers such as teachers, principals and supervisory officers.
( 1) Public education is designed to inculcate children in necessary civic virtues
[ 51] I would reject the school board’s submission that the program the appellant challenges is morally neutral. Public education has never been morally neutral.
[ 52] One of the purposes of public education has been to incul-
cate civic virtues in school children. These civic virtues are those
habits, dispositions and behaviours people need to live together
peaceably in civil society. This has been a systemic moral com-
mitment for a very long time. Consider s. 264( 1)(c) of the Educa-
tion Act, which imposes on teachers the duty
to inculcate by precept and example respect for religion and the principles of
Judaeo-Christian morality and the highest regard for truth, justice, loyalty,
love of country, humanity, benevolence, sobriety, industry, frugality, purity,
temperance and all other virtues. 1
The content of the civic virtues is not the unique preserve of any
religion or ideology. They are important in any civil society.
1 The first appearance of this language in a statute was in 1896, in An Act
Consolidating and Revising the Public Schools Acts (1896), 59 Vict., c. 70,
at s. 76( 1).