More Public School Nonsense1 March, 2008
This is from (once again) The Carpet Bagger Report:
First up from the God machine this week is a startling example of how much work still needs to be done when it comes to respecting the rights of religious minorities.
A Delaware school district has agreed to revise its policies on religion as part of a settlement with two Jewish families who had sued over the pervasiveness of Christian prayer and other religious activities in the schools.
One family said it was forced to leave its home in Georgetown because of an anti-Semitic backlash.
The settlement, which was approved Tuesday, includes payments to the families that both sides would not disclose. Although the settlement resolves many complaints in the suit, against the Indian River School District, the parties are proceeding with litigation over the school board practice of beginning its sessions with prayer.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants said their clients were satisfied with the settlement. On local blogs, the anger many people felt toward the families for protesting Christian prayer at school events has flared anew.
This is actually one of the more painful church-state controversies in recent years. Two Jewish families in Delaware, for years, saw blatantly unconstitutional state-sponsored religious exercises in public schools, but they said nothing. The families didn’t want to “rock the boat,” so they tolerated official endorsements of Christianity.
Eventually, after the school district invited a minister to tell students and their families that Jesus was the only way to the truth, they couldn’t take it anymore. When school officials refused to consider more generic and less exclusionary prayers, the families hired a lawyer.
Then matters grew considerably worse. Jewish students were taunted with anti-Semitic slurs. The families were threatened. They ultimately had to move to a new town, all because they didn’t want public schools promoting Christian proselytism.
One of the families tried to have their son return to the community. It wasn’t long before he was approached by some kids in the area who approached him and said, “There’s that boy who’s suing Jesus.”
Once again, a government entity has a chance to do the right thing and save money at the same time. Once again, they fail to do it. I hope the citizens of this school district realize just how much money the bull-headedness and religious zealotry of the school’s administration and (I would assume) the school board.