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Anthem must be sung a cappella by students in Toronto's Catholic board

Students at Toronto Catholic District School Board will now be singing the national anthem without accompaniment.

The board backed a motion put forward by trustee Angela Kennedy that proposed that students be required to sing O Canada a cappella, after raising concerns that pupils have not been singing the anthem at "public gatherings such as graduations, heritage celebrations and school blessings or anniversaries."

The move essentially bans the practice each morning of educators playing a CD over the announcement system, and students listening rather than singing along.

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The board also stuck by its bottled water ban. The TCDSB became the largest school board in Canada to take such a strong stance when it brought in the ban last April.

A small minority of trustees raised concerns that an outright ban would make it harder for students to stay hydrated at school events. Water pressure is often low in the drinking fountains at older schools.

"I think it's the silliest thing considering that we don't have proper watering stations in some schools," said Trustee Sal Piccininni.

Though the new rules regarding anthem-singing and water appear to take a hard stance, there won't be any repercussions for students caught in violation.

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Education reporter

Kate Hammer started her journalism career in New York, chasing crime and breaking news for The New York Times. She came to the Globe and Mail in 2008 to do much of the same and ended up investigating allegations of animal cruelty and mismanagement at the Toronto Humane Society. More

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