04/12/2012 11:21 EDT | Updated 04/13/2012 07:18 EDT

O Canada In Schools: Students Pushed To Sing O Canada By Themselves


Singing out loud can be a nerve-racking experience, but if one Toronto school trustee gets her way, some Toronto students may be forced to do just that. According to the Toronto Star, Angela Kennedy of the Toronto Catholic District School Board is pushing forward with a motion that would have students sing O Canada in the classrooms -- out loud and without any musical accompaniment.

While there's some concern that there'll be resistance and lots of shyness involved (despite reports to the contrary, apparently glee club and choir sessions aren't for everyone), Kennedy says that her motion will make for a more patriotic nation. Currently, singing the national anthem is required in the mornings but most students instead opt to listen to a recording of the anthem.

"I think it makes people lazy and the expectation is that people not sing. And when you get to big events (like graduations), people aren't singing either …It's unpatriotic, and I think as educators we need to be instilling some better values around patriotism and good citizenship," said Kennedy in an interview with The Star.

This isn't the first time the O Canada has made headlines. In 2010, the federal government mused modifying the lyrics after complaints that the line "true patriot love in all thy sons command," wasn't gender neutral and excluded Canadian women. The Conservative government later backed down on the issue after public outcry against any changes. And in 1990, Toronto City Councillors voted in favour of recommending the federal government change the lyrics "our home and native land" be changed to "our home and cherished land". That recommendation was also rejected.

Kennedy's motion will make its way to the board next week, and there seems to be at least some academic support for her recommendation. Fifty-four per cent of Canadian high school choral students didn’t know the melody to O Canada and only 67 per cent knew the lyrics, according to a study out of the University of Victoria. And then, of course, there's the issue of DJs tasked with singing the anthem before lacrosse games not recalling the lyrics either.

"As a school system we have an obligation to encourage people to have a love for their country and to be proud of who they are. I mean singing O Canada at the beginning of a school day is not very onerous," said Kennedy to listeners of NewsTalk1010, a Toronto talk radio show.

WATCH: Some of the most memorable performances of O Canada ever:

CORRECTION: This story was originally published with O Canada spelled as O' Canada. We've corrected the error in the copy.