Father Fights to Have Child Exempted from Religious Studies at Catholic High School

According to a story in the Toronto Star, father Oliver Erazo is considering taking legal action in order to obtain a full exemption from religious courses and programs for his son at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario.

Erazo admits that he and his wife originally chose the school because of academics, and its proximity to their home – not for its religious orientation.

Under the Canadian Education Act’s open-access legislation, students are free to avoid religious instruction if that is the parents’ desire.

While Erazo’s son, Jonathan, a 10th grade student, received a one-year exemption from liturgies and religious classes, he must remain at home during those times. Erazo wants his son to be able to work in the school library or office during that time.

“You can’t extricate the faith,” said Bruce Campbell, Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board spokesman. “It’s woven throughout the fabric of the school. I think what he’s looking for is a public school.”

“I think the only thing they (the board) would understand is a court order,” said Erazo, who has secured the pro bono assistance of attorney Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.