Toronto Dad Banned From Watching Daughter's Swim Lessons Due to Muslim Practices

A single Toronto dad was told that he would be unable to watch his 9-year-old daughter's swim lessons due to other student's religious practices. Some of the girls in the group swim lessons were Muslim and are not allowed to have non-family member males see them in swimsuits. The father had enrolled his daughter in a free swim program through the pool's website and was not made aware of the fact he would not be able to observe the lessons. The father enrolled his daughter in the girls only class because she did not have many friends, and he hoped the class would help her make some new ones.  

The public pool has a history of providing female-only swim programs to accommodate for cultural and religious practices and requirements, with similar accommodations for all-male swim classes. The pool also offers co-ed classes which allow parents of the opposite sex to watch the lessons.

The desire by the pool to provide for the needs of a diverse community is a good one.  There are strict cultural and religious practices which would otherwise prohibit participation in the activity if not for special allowances. However, the pool should make such requirements clear to parents when enrolling their children in such classes, particularly for a free one. A parent has a right to supervise their minor child and if allowances are made for one group, then the situations of single parents should be taken into account as well.  

At what point does the public sphere become too accommodating for the diversity within a community? Laws which prohibit displays of religious devotion go too far, but a secular public space such as a community center is a place where an equalization occurs and private, personal practices should not interfere with the community at large. While there are cultural and religious practice which prohibit certain activities, those are choices by members of the community.  And it is a choice to take a swim lesson at a public, secular space, rather than private swim lessons at a cultural center who abide by similar practices.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Heather Williams

Heather is a graduate of Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy where she specialized in international relations and economics, focusing her research on education policy. She has a background in campaigns, elections and has worked in state and local government. She enjoys running, skiing on warm spring days in Colorado and her friends and family.

MORE FROM

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

Ride malfunction at Ohio State Fair leaves 1 dead, 7 injured

The ride reportedly broke apart while in motion.

Sam Brownback: 3 things to know about Trump’s nominee for ambassador-at-large for religious freedom

Brownback was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which created the job he's now nominated for.

Hundreds rally in Times Square to protest Donald Trump’s transgender military ban

“I’m out here to support my trans brothers and sisters who have been serving our military for years and years and years."

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

Ride malfunction at Ohio State Fair leaves 1 dead, 7 injured

The ride reportedly broke apart while in motion.

Sam Brownback: 3 things to know about Trump’s nominee for ambassador-at-large for religious freedom

Brownback was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which created the job he's now nominated for.

Hundreds rally in Times Square to protest Donald Trump’s transgender military ban

“I’m out here to support my trans brothers and sisters who have been serving our military for years and years and years."