Former Legacy Christian Academy students call for removal of controversial curriculum

Three former students of a private Christian school were at the Legislative asking the Government to ban a controversial curriculum.

Caitlin Erickson, Stefanie Hutchinson and Coy Nolin were all former students of Saskatoon’s Legacy Christian Academy and were taught using the Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE, curriculum. A curriculum they say is still being used in taxpayer-funded independent schools in the province.

Part of the ACE curriculum is Biology 1099, which teaches the existence of the Loch Ness monster, which is presented as a fact and is used as proof against the scientific theory of evolution. The curriculum also states that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth simultaneously.

“There are also issues around racism, classism, sexism; there’s a lot of different things in that curriculum that are not okay,” Erickson added. “You would have been kicked out for questioning anything, and if you talked negatively about the school, there would be discipline.”

She said that they want the curriculum to be banned, so students don’t have to go through the same thing they did.

“It’s about not having this happen again, not having a lapse of regulations, not letting something go unregulated for this amount of time,” she said. “It’s about children never going through the kinds of things that we’ve gone through, and we’ve had a lot of adults that have been in a position of authority that have failed us over and over and over.”

Erickson, along with Hutchinson and Nolin, were invited by Education Critic Matt Love to attend the sitting on Thursday.

He said that the Government should be doing more than just getting justice for the former students.

“A track record of physical abuse, including paddling. A track record of spiritual abuse, including exorcisms. A track record of abusing human rights of children and youth. A track record of curriculum and teaching methods harmful to students and their future success. A track record of anti-science science classes.”

Earlier this year, the Government appointed independent administrators to oversee multiple schools. One school with connections to the Legacy Christian Academy had its certificate cancelled after it refused to cooperate with the province.

Education Minister Dustin Duncan says he’s awaiting the results of various investigations before making any decisions.

Duncan said he doesn’t want to leave the impression that the school is the same in 2022 as in 2005.

“Since 2012, the regulations have been changed,” he stated. “I’ve put in place regulations and steps to increase the amount of oversight we’re looking at. If there are more steps that need to be taken, we’re discussing that with the ministry.”

“If there are additional changes that need to be made, we’ll make those.”

He also said that they are also looking at making sure private independent schools are more accountable, which could mean more detailed looks at their curriculum.

Regarding the ACE curriculum, Duncan said he couldn’t comment on it as he ‘doesn’t know much about it.’

In a meeting between Erickson and Duncan, Erickson said she showed the Education Minister a textbook.

When asked what he thought of the ACE curriculum and the textbooks, he said he didn’t have a chance to look at them in depth.

Duncan was also asked if it’s acceptable for schools to teach, for example, that dinosaurs and humans existed at the same time.

“At the end of the day, though, parents have a choice. If they don’t think their child is getting an acceptable education, they don’t have to be there.”

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