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Pro-life flag still set to fly over one school in Kelowna
The City of Kelowna and the superintendent of Catholic schools may have nixed Kelowna Right To Life's plans to fly its pro-life flag but one local school is sticking with the plan.
The high school principal of Heritage Christian School in Rutland says his school will fly the pro-life flag during school hours next week.
"We feel it's an opportunity to take the stance that human life should be protected," said Paul Kelly.
Heritage Christian was one of four schools where KRTL said its flag would fly after the City of Kelowna rejected a proposal that it fly over city hall during next week's Protect Human Life Week. Kelowna's mayor has agreed to proclaim Protection of Human Life Week in the city.
As a result of the controversy over the city considering allowing the flag to fly, council changed its courtesy flag-flying policy to only allow government flags to fly over City Hall from now on.
On Wednesday, Catholic schools superintendent Bev Pulyk announced that in light of email threats KRTL said it received threatening to burn the flag if it flew over City Hall, she was pulling her permission for the flag to fly at Immacuata Catholic Regional High School and St Joseph's Elementary school in Kelowna and at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary school in Westbank.
Last week, Pulyk approved the plan to fly pro-life flags at the three schools because the protection of the unborn, she said, was part of the Catholic doctrine. But on Wednesday, she said in light of the reported threats, she felt it best to err on the side of safety when it came to students and decided not to fly the flags.
Kelly said while he respected Pulyk's decision, he did not share her concern about safety in this instance because the flag would only be up during school hours.
He said KRTL, The school's existing flag flying policy is to take down all flags at the end of the school day and raise them again the next morning.
Kelly said while he had not talked with teachers about how they should to address the issue with students, he had spoken to the school's authority—it is run by the Kelowna Christian Centre–and it felt this would be what he called a great learning opportunity for students.
He also said the protection of the unborn is a fundamental belief of the families that send their children to his school.
Unlike the public school system, where he Kelly said Christian children are "marginalized" because of their beliefs, his school welcomed the chance to advance the pro-life message.
Aware of the controversy surrounding the flying of pro-life flags at schools, he said he felt his school would be "doing kids a disservice by not addressing the issue."
Heritage Christian School, which offers kindergarten to Grade 12 education, has a student body of about 300 children.