Mother Seeks Declaration Confirming School Board Violated Her Freedom of Religion

Servatius v School District 70, which is currently before the British Columbia Supreme Court, concerns a BC mother of two children who claims that School District 70 violated her and her children’s right to religious freedom in forcing them to participate in a cleansing rituals and religious prayer. Candice Servatius had received a letter in September 2015 from John Howitt Elementary School (JHES) notifying her that JHES would be performing Aboriginal cleansing rituals in the school’s classrooms.

In January 2016, Mrs. Servatius learned from her children that Aboriginal prayers had been performed at a JHES student assembly; JHES had not notified the students’ parents. School District 70 denies that these rituals violate Mrs. Servatius’ religious freedom because they are “cultural”. Earlier this month, Mrs. Servatius sought a declaration with the BCSC in Nanaimo. She is currently awaiting a verdict.