Teachers, parents express disgust over province’s proposed ban of religious symbols

Approximately 100 parents and teachers were present at the English Montreal School Board headquarters for an emergency meeting on Wednesday called by the board.

Both parents and teachers expressed a growing concern over the impending provincial ban on the wearing of religious symbols in the public sector.

“Why are we still discussing this?” said Furheen Ahmed, a teacher at Westmount High who chooses to wear the hijab.  “We just did this in 2013,” she added.

Many of the teachers, including board members agreed, saying this was a case of bad deja vu.

“Here we are in 2019 back to the same arguments,” said President of EMSB Angela Mancini.

Mancini closed the meeting by reassuring staff that the school board will do everything in its power to prevent this from happening.

“Everything will be looked at. Some are even discussing court battles. It will be interesting to see where that takes us when a decision is made,” said Mancini after the meeting.

The proposed legislation was a key election promise made by Premier François Legault. The Premier claims he has full support across the province, but the EMSB says it doesn’t believe that to be true, claiming it is ready to take legal action.

Peter Sutherland, president of the EMSB teachers union, says they will do what is necessary to protect jobs.

The bill is expected to be tabled in the spring.