Catholic school board votes to eliminate bottled water
The Toronto Catholic District School Board has voted in favour of a motion that will eliminate bottled water from its schools.
The motion, introduced by trustee Maria Rizzo, will have schools stop selling bottled water in both their vending machines and in their cafeterias starting in September 2012, as schools work to create bottled-water free zones.
"Water is a human right, it is God's gift," Rizzo said in her arguments prior to the vote. "We wouldn't be bottling air and selling it. We shouldn't be bottling water and selling it."
Rizzo said that when school trustees become leaders and talk about why bottled water is wrong, the schools will support their decision.
"It is important that we tell the story about bottled water and when we tell that story, we will be successful," she said.
The vote passed with only two trustees opposed.
One of the trustees opposed to the motion was John Del Grande, who argued that concerns raised at earlier board meetings -- including water pressure and potential lead in school pipes, what to do at school events, walk-a-thons and outdoor events, and relationships with vendors -- still haven't been addressed sufficiently.
It would also cost an estimated $250,000 to retrofit all schools with water-filling stations, Del Grande said.
"At this point, it is irresponsible to go full hog for September 2012 without these concerns being addressed," Del Grande said.
During the debate, trustees were adamant that children who do bring bottled water into a school will not be punished for doing so.
The motion will also see the board peruse new partnerships to make up for the money lost by not selling water.
Toronto City Hall has already voted to ban bottled water in a decision made by council in 2008 under former mayor David Miller.
Also on Thursday, the board voted in favour of a motion that will require kids to sing O Canada without music every morning.
The motion passed at a board meeting by a vote of 7-3.
The O Canada motion was first introduced by trustee Angela Kennedy at a March 29 board meeting.
The board already has a policy requiring students to sing O Canada each morning, but Kennedy was concerned that playing a music version of the anthem allows kids to just listen or hum along, without really learning the words to the song.
"The veterans have fought for us, and I think that this is the least we can do, is to sing the words to O Canada," Kennedy told CTV Toronto.