Loyola High School in N.D.G squared off with the province of Quebec in superior court on Monday over a controversial new ethics course.

The course was made mandatory for all students last year but Loyola wants to opt out and offer its own version of the course.

Loyola says it already teaches most of what's in the provincial course but that it wants to add Catholic elements that have been part of the school's hallmark for its 160-year existence.

Paul Donovan, principal of Loyola, says a course on ethics and religious culture cannot be taught without introducing a strictly religious component.

Last August the education department turned down Loyola's application for an exemption from the course.

A parent then filed a lawsuit on behalf of the boys' school, saying the ethics course goes against Loyola's Catholic and Jesuit teachings.

Government's argument

The province says their course has a significant cultural emphasis and doesn't preclude Loyola from teaching religion to its students.