Pearson to publish values charter brief Friday

“Does Quebec plan to banish dreadlocks?” 

By Robert Frank

Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) plans to give the Parti québécois government some homework to do during the holidays.

During its last commissioners meeting of the year, Dec. 16, LBPSB chair Suanne Stein Day announced that on Friday this week, the board will submit its brief on Quebec’s proposed values charter.

“The brief was developed by myself, LBPSB commissioners Craig Berger and Linton Garner as well as Beaconsfield High School science teacher Nadia Naqvi,” she said.

“We plan to take the same approach as we did to Bill 14,” Stein Day told The Suburban, referring to an unpopular law to tighten Quebec’s language legislation that Premier Pauline Marois abandoned, earlier this year, in the face of overwhelming opposition.

“Our brief will be direct and strong,” she said in an interview following the commissioners meeting, “and we are prepared to go and defend it.”

Stein Day noted that Naqvi is a practicing Muslim who wears a hijab headscarf while she teaches.

“Her sister in New York City wears a full niqab,” she added, referring to the full-facial covering worn by many women of the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere, “and feels less prejudice walking the streets there than here in Quebec with a simple hijab.”

The school board chair also mused about whether Quebec intends to ban dreadlocks, the distinctive, matted coils of hair worn by many natives of Jamaica and elsewhere.

“The dreadlocks are a conspicuous expression of the Rastafarian faith,” Stein Day observed.

Rastafarians consider their flowing curls symbolic of the Lion of Judah, which traces its ancestry to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheeba through their son, Melenek I.

Many African practitioners of shamanism also wear dreadlocks. LBPSB’s brief will be submitted exactly one week after the National Assembly approved a petition proposed by Pearson’s Central Parents Committee (CPC), Dec. 13.

CPC chair Laura Derry told The Suburban that the petition is now available on the National Assembly web site.

In addition, Valerie Cochennec, a non-voting student commissioner, told the meeting that the school boards Central Students Committee has also been debating its own position on the proposed Quebec values charter.

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