Subcommittee discusses religion in schools

The Board of Education’s Policy, Communications & Alignment Subcommittee has started having preliminary discussions about a policy regarding religion in Wilton’s public schools, the Board of Education chair and a subcommittee member, Christine Finkelstein, announced at the school board’s Dec. 6 meeting.

With the policy, Finkelstein said, the goal is to not only “affirm that the schools are neutral when it comes to religion,” but also “clarify the role of religion in the curriculum.”

“We want to make sure that students have the opportunity to learn about different religions and experience music and symbols of those religions,” she said, “and just find a way to put on a piece of paper what the policy is for Wilton schools.”

Finkelstein said the policy will be “a work in progress for a while” before the subcommittee brings it before the Board of Education for consideration.

Controversial issues policy

Finkelstein said the subcommittee is also looking at the district’s policy on controversial issues in curriculum (Policy No. 6144), which requires “discussion and study of controversial issues” to be “objective and scholarly, with a minimum of emphasis on opinion.”

According to the policy, teachers are to approach such issues in “an impartial and unprejudiced manner” and “refrain from using classroom privilege and prestige to promote a partisan point of view.”

Finkelstein said the subcommittee is looking at the policy “with an extra eye” to “make sure that it’s inclusive of current topics that are in the headlines these days.”

“We want to make sure that should something come our way, that [the policy] will speak to it,” she said.