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markus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-13-04 11:46 PM
Original message
Xian evangelist principal at my daughter's middle school
My daughter attends middle school in Fargo, N.D. At the very end of last year, some unidentified people were a hundred feet inside school property, at a main entrance, handing out the little vinyl-covered Gideon's New Testament (and Psalms and some other assorted biblical texts.)

I didn't take any action.

Recently, this same school (and many others in the city) had in a Values group promoting abstinence from drugs, sex, etc., using rap/hip hop music. The group, affiliated with a local, unaffiliated Protestant church, ended their mandatory assembly with an invitation to come to another concert over the weekend, which was an openly religious event.

I was going to let that one go, as 99.8% of their presentation was positive and not openly religious. Until I remembered about the bibles.

And now the lead article, "signed" by the principal (but clearly attributed to the radio-televangelist Chuck Swindoll. It contained a New Testament reference: "Jesus taught: "...to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me" (Matthew 2540)". It also contains a moment in the narrative when the teacher "got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her."

The story, if you are curious, was a generic teacher made a difference in the life of a child. With a highly religious tone. The story apparently came from this book:
http://www.zondervan.com/Books/Detail.asp?ISBN=0310420512

I've had it. My 12 year old daughter may disown me, but tomorrow I call the Superintendent of Schools and ask why this clown of a principal shouldn't be fired.

At the very least, I think a public acknowledgment of his errors and an apology, in the same newsletter, would be appropriate. Along with some official act of discipline. On his "permanent record".

They are coming out of the woodwork now that the election is over, daring us to challenge them. Well, guess what asshole. You misjudged at least some of us.



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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
1. Get in touch with the ACLU
The Superintendent will be a lot more likely to take you seriously if you do.
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bobbieinok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 12:23 AM
Response to Original message
2. 'unaffiliated church' often means charismatic/pentecostal church
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markus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 06:38 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Unaffiliated church means (to mean)
Snake-handlin', strynchnine-sippin' freaks. I was just being polite.
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hiley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. that is
about the truth too.
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Jackie97 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
4. Just be careful how you go about it.
I do think that you are right about this, but you might find that your daughter becomes a target at school if you get too out in the open with this.
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
5. RE: "Lead article"
Where was this lead article published?
Was it in a school sanctioned bulletin?

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markus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. It was in the school newsletter
which I believe my daughter carried home, but which carried the school district's non-profit org frank for mailing.

It's about as official a school communication as you can get.
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. That sounds totally unacceptable then.
I can understand the concert as long as at other times concerts have been performed by people of different religions or secular.


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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
7. Have you spoken to the Principal directly yet?
Edited on Tue Dec-14-04 01:14 PM by davsand
I'd think it might be worth calling him directly about this. Maybe he's just having a brain cramp and not thinking of how all this looks...

I'm probably wrong--the guy is most likely a wing nut--but I think it is important to contact him directly first. That way YOU don't look like some rabid "librul." You have a LOT of time, still, to bring in the big guns, and I'd urge you to talk directly to the Principal who is in the same building with your kid EVERY DAY.

Just my two cents.


Laura
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hiley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
8. this is a Sunday school
Edited on Tue Dec-14-04 01:18 PM by hiley
lesson not school and you are right to raise a fuss, for your daughter. While she is young you still get to pick the beliefs not the school..

You might try some of the school board members first, it worked for my family once. Principal did not give swats for 5 years after that I know of...
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markus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Re: School Board
There are two active democrats on the school board, and I know them both. My wife actually suggested I not approach them first, so they're not in a position of they know and others don't if I have to go to the board.

If I find I have to go to the school board, I'll deal with how to best handle those two as (hopefully) allies then
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markus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
12. Thanks all
I'm not going to contact the ACLU or any other attorney yet, or contact my political acquaintances on the schol board yet.

I want to hear what the Superintended or his people say. If they suggest (as they might) that I speak to him directly, I'm going to ask for a guanrantee (in writing) of no relatilation against my daughter for pursuing this.

If I have to go nuclear, I will talk to my daughter about it. If I have to, I will wait until the end of the school year (when my daughter will be moving on and my son will still be a year away from this middle school)

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AngryOldDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Just follow the chain of command...
...and document, document, document every step of the way.

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Sgent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-04 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Just a warning...
I don't say that this is right, but if you do wind up having to be public about this (school board meeting, etc.) then most likely your daughter will be retaliated against.

About ten years ago we had a similar (but more egregious) case here, and although there was no "official" retaliation, the children were blamed for the entire thing by other students. The students would do things like "spontaneously" stand up and pray outloud when they entered the lunch room, and various other inflammatory things. Although the school district can control certain issues, its a troubling situation. The family won their case, then had to move because they couldn't get a reasonable education.
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markus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-04 06:52 AM
Response to Original message
15. A followup
I got a call back from the assistant superintendent for H.R. She hadn't seen the newsletter, but quickly pushed a reprimand as a solution if it was found to be inappropriate.

I stresses that 1) I didn't want my name on any internal action, if it would mean exposing my daughter to any retaliation from the principal, supportive staff or students; and, 2) that a public apology/retraction in the newsletter would be a more appropriate response.

I think there is a pattern of behavoir hear. There was a church-sponsored "values" rap group that appeared at her school (and others in the area). While they avoided direct mention of religion, they did invite everyone to an explicitly religious event off-campus.

Also, my daughter brought home a Gideon's bible from school last year, which was being handed out on the sidewalk outside the door of this school. This is not a public sidewalk. It is on the interior of a parking lot at least 50 feet from a public sidewalk.

The vice-superitendent insists that they've tried to remove the Gideons, but that they legally can't. I can't imagine that any solicitation could take place that far inside of school property without some approval. If she is correct, then just about anybody could stand 50 feet inside school property and solicit thee kids. And that's just wrong.

She's promised to send information about their problem with the Gideons, assured me that there would not be a repeat of the Seven Project (rap group) event if there was even a hint of religious message or prosletization, and that she would promptly look into the newsletter.

So far, it looks like this can be pursued without exposing my daughere to any risk. If they decline to require some public apology by the principal, then I have other avenues. As a former journalist and press secretary, I think just getting the newsletter into the hands of the reports who covered the rap group project (which got a lot of local press) will suffice to get the ball rolling. I am pretty sure I can do that without getting my daughter's or my own name in the paper.
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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-04 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. The school board can ban - and should - any solicitation on school grounds
It's done here. The only outside influences that have access to the kids in this district are the sponsors who put up candy, soda and fast food ads. :eyes: It's not perfect, but at least, no one's handing out material on campus.

The problem with that is that if they ban the Gideons, they also ban the Boy Scouts (which are pretty religious and intolerant, too...), the Girl Scouts (which are far better behaved), Campfire, etc.

They have to make the stand that schools are for learning, not for propaganda, and no organization can have unfair access on publicly paid for grounds, so therefore, no organization can have access. Target did it, other school districts have done it. The price is that BSA and GSA are not allowed in, either. It has to be a blanket policy, else the Gideons will cry foul and ask for equal opportunity.

Urge the school board to forbid any type of outside organization using school time or space to recruit.

Pcat
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GOPBasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-16-04 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
17. Unbelievable.
I'm a broken record lately. I keep saying to everyone: "This is no longer a democracy; it's a theocracy."
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