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Family that complained about preschool celebrating Christmas gets $9,000

Manuela Cardiga
Dec 19, 2018
12:20 P.M.

A preschooler's atheist parents sued the child's school over Christmas celebrations.

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When Gary Mangel and Mai Yasué went to Bowen Island Montessori School to re-register their daughter, they were told they had to sign a letter agreeing to the school's curriculum.

The couple refused, and their daughter was not allowed to enroll, so they took their case to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.

The family regards themselves as atheists and believe that their daughter has the right to make an informed decision about religion.

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VANCOUVER SCHOOL REFUSES TO ENROLL CHILD

The reason behind the school's refusal was that the parents had raised an objection, stating that they felt it was inappropriate to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other religious/political events at the preschool.

The couple felt that their three-year-old child could not consent to decorate military wreaths or Christmas trees or lighting Hanukkah candles.

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

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RELIGION AS INFORMED CONSENT

The family regards themselves as atheists and believe that their daughter has the right to make an informed decision about religion and its observances hen she is old enough to understand and give informed consent.

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

Source: Facebook.com/FriendlyAtheist

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TRIBUNAL RULED FOR THE PARENTS

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ruled in favor of the parents and awarded the family $9,000 in damages.

The Tribunal underscored that the case was not about a school teaching cultural celebrations of religious origin. The case was about a letter that was held as an obligation and conditioning a child's enrolment to her parent's signature.

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LITTLE BOY WHO DIDN'T PARTICIPATE PUT IN DETENTION

A similar case made history in the US Supreme Court in 1948, when the judge ruled in favor of the McCollum family of Champaign, Illinois.

The school had decided to implement a "voluntary" program of religious education. Vashti McCollum's child did not participate, and since the "voluntary" program was conducted during school hours they saw the child in the detention chair.

The McCollum legal case culminated with a historic 8-1 Supreme Court victory and was the first case to successfully apply the Constitution's Establishment Clause to state action under the Fourteenth Amendment.

In a related story, learn the 10 amazing rules for teaching children defined by Maria Montessori.

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