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It doesn't get any worse then this.

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Jedi Writer, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    It is difficult for me to see two sides to this issue. This comes from part of a story being reported by the AP.

    Brian Rohrbough, whose son Danny was killed in the Columbine High School massacre, said school officials have no business telling him what he can say in two 4-inch tiles that are part of a victims' memorial.

    The high court Monday declined, without comment, to hear an appeal of a ruling that keeps families from having tiles that make reference to God from being placed with 4,000 others along the school's corridors above the 6-foot-high lockers.

    "If you asked me to create a memory of my son, it is always going to include a reference to God because it is a core value," said Rohrbough. He said the tile was not meant to proselytize and only someone standing very close would be able to see what is on the individual tiles.

    "It is all a pretext to keep religious symbols out of the schools," said lawyer James Rouse, who represented Rohrbough and the parents of Kelly Fleming, also killed in the attack.

    Rick Kaufman, spokesman for the Jefferson County School District, said it had done what was best for the school and students to avoid dwelling on the killings. He said other memorials were established outside the school.

    Rohrbough also claimed the district was retaliating for criticism of its failure to avert the April 20, 1999, attack.

    The school district had invited parents to create tiles as part of the renovation of the school after the attack. Officials said the tiles should not be a memorial, which would remind students of the killing. Ground rules included that none would carry a religious theme, observing the constitutional requirement that church and state remain separate.

    Rouse disputed that the issue was whether students should be reminded of the killing. He said a plaque hanging in the school office says "God Weeps Over Columbine," and "they have a clock that is stopped at 11:10" the moment the attack began.

    Kaufman said there also is a plaque in the new school library listing the names of the victims, but counselors did not want to focus on the massacre in highly trafficked areas. The goal was to minimize disruption.

    A federal judge ruled in favor of the parents on free-speech grounds, but that decision was overturned by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the district, had a right to censor what is said in a school-sponsored activity. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of that decision.

    Kaufman said the district could have removed all the tiles once the dispute developed. "That would have been spiteful. The bottom line is that as difficult as it has been to be in opposition to the family, especially in the courts, we have really tried to work with the families of the victims to help in the healing process."
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    And so, another American's right to observe their religious beliefs is negated.

    This is entirely analagous to the public funding of tombstones at national cemeteries: public setting, public money, private observance in honor of the fallen dead.
  3. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    "The school district had invited parents to create tiles as part of the renovation of the school after the attack. Officials said the tiles should not be a memorial, which would remind students of the killing."

    Does anyone else see the idiocy in this statement? If they didn't want any remembrances in the tile work, they should have used plain, boxed contractor-grade white tile.
  4. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I think the family should be allowed to pay for a tile in memory of the child that includes any religious references seen as approrpriate.

    But take a deep breath here. The court did not say the tiles could not be put there because they had religious connotations. They said the school could censor what was on the tiles. The school restricted because of content.
  5. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Which restriction was their misguided interpretation of the separation of church and state. Common sense has left the school system.

    Think I'll go take a poll over at the kiddie forum, "elsewhere", see if they can even mention God in book reports.

    Back tomorrow....
  6. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    What is the purpose of having the parents create tiles if not for a memorial? I am confused as to the purpose that the school district has for this. If the tiles are to be a memorial created by parents and loved ones, then I see nothing wrong with the religious references. If they are meant as, "Hey, sorry about your kids getting killed in our school. Here...wanna help us renovate?" then the references don't belong.

    Is there a story somewhere about this? I am interested in knowing exactly what the parents were to be doing with these tiles.
  7. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Well, crap, does it matter? Two tiles out of 4,000? Two lousy four-inch tiles, six feet above the ground?

    This isn't some state supreme court justice nailing up a large bronze plaque. It's parents desiring to memorialize their dead child.

    Like I noted, it seems stupid to have special tiles created, but then go on about how they can't be "memorials", how the can't be religious. What the hell are they supposed to say? "Gee, we miss our kid and wish he wasn't dead"?
  8. Violet1966

    Violet1966 Stand and Deliver Staff Member

    And most likely to appease others who don't believe in a God. It's sad because we're talking about the dead here and those who are left behind who would like to think their loved ones are with God. I'm sure it gives them some kind of peace inside. The school choosing what to restrict was because we all know that seeing the word God in the halls of a school, is gonna turn people religious. It's a fact. Just like looking at porn is gonna make people rape and people who eat french fries are gonna gain 1000 pounds, people who masterbate will have hairy palms, etc.

    <small>note: that was sarcasm at the end there ;)</small>
  9. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    I'm confused what the purpose of these tiles is supposed to be. The school said the families could each make a tile, but they weren't meant to be memorials. Then what's the point of for each family to make a tile? Why would they want to do that, then, if not as a memorial?

    And why does the school have 2 plaques memorializing the massacre and 1 mentioning "God", yet the tiles are such a problem?

    I don't get it.
  10. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    You know, in this world of P.C., tolerance preached from the rafters...

    Where is the tolerance for the religious parent who is grieving? We should all tolerate and be sensitive to everyone - except a Christian?

    These school administrators are displaying the very mindset that they swore to be rid of after this event. They're displaying their mindless arrogance and ego.
  11. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Common sense did not leave the school bulding. It never entered it. Another example of a good idea whose ramification was not thought out completely. Now instead of being a focal point for healing, it has become a divisive reminder of the tragedy. Way to go school administrators.

    Next time you decide to do something like this, think about all concerned before rushing out with feel-good ideas.
  12. HaYwIrE

    HaYwIrE Banned

    It's sickening to see the way the school system... Hell... the whole world is turning out.

    Out with God! Out with the 10 commandments! Out with the Pledge of Allegiance! Out with the Declaration of Independance! The Boy Scouts of America is a racist, gay bashing bunch of religious zealots!

    But free condoms for children... "<i>Heather Has Two Mommies</i>"... Atheism... and just about every philanthropist ideal known to man... these things are all acceptable?!?!

    Thank God for home schooling. :mad:
  13. HaYwIrE

    HaYwIrE Banned

    You <b>are</b> kidding, right? That is the way PC and Liberalism works...

    Tolerate everyone accept those we don't like or agree with, including religion... heterosexuality... morality. You know... all of the prevailing beliefs/concepts in the world. :rolleyes:
  14. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    This is indeed a tough one!

    Regarding <A HREF="http://www.religioustolerance.org/ps_pra9.htm#notok">freedom of religion in public schools</A>

    To be inclusive, I'll list all the points, but I won't paste all the text, since most are not applicable. Details of each point can be found in the link above.

    The constitution prohibits:

    <li> <b>Requiring students to recite prayers in class.</b> <i>Not applicable.</i>
    <li> <b>Public prayers at high school games.</b> <i>Not applicable.</i>
    <li> <b>Promoting any one denomination or religion at the expense of another faith group or secular philosophy.</b> <i>This could be applicable.</i> Generally refers to extra-curricular religous studies, ie. allowing Christian group meetings mean that Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, etc. groups may also meet on school grounds, but could be applied to the content of memorial items displayed on school grounds.
    <li> <b>Banning the wearing of religious clothing and symbols.</b> <i>Not applicable.</i>
    <li> <b>Prayers before Board of Education meetings.</b> <i>Not applicable</i>.
    <li> <b>"Clergy in the Schools" project.</b> <i>Also not applicable</i>.

    The constitution allows (protected as freedom of speech, religion and assembly rights):

    <li> <b>Graduation ceremonies.</b> <i>Not applicable</i>.
    <li> <b>Teaching religion.</b> <i>Not applicable</i>.
    <li> <b>Student religious clubs.</b> <i>Not applicable</i>.
    <li> <b>Moment of silence.</b> <i>Not applicable</i>.
    <li> <b>Prayer outside of school building.</b> <i>Not applicable.</i>
    <li> <b>School religious speech.</b> <i>This could be applicable.</i> Students can carry Bible or other religious texts to and in school. They can pray before eating. A student can pray on the school bus, in the cafeteria, in classrooms before and after class, in the corridors, in the washrooms, etc. They can wear T-shirts with religious text. They can wear religious jewelry (buttons, symbols). They can hand out religious materials. They can freely talk about religion to fellow students, outside of class. They can pray before eating in the cafeteria. These are well-known freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Yet not everyone is aware of these forms of protected speech.
    <li> <b>Rental of school facilities.</b> <i>Not applicable</i>.
    <li> <b>Teaching of evolution</b> <i>A personal favorite of mine, but not applicable</i>.
    <li> <b>Teacher display of religion.</b> <i>Hmmm</i>. Teachers may be prohibited from displaying a Bible on their desk or from placing religious posters on the classroom wall. This would imply state support for a specific religion.

    While teachers, principles, and school boards are prohibited (rightly so, IMO) from "promoting any one denomination or religion at the expense of another faith group or secular philosophy", the same is not true for kids. Children do not abandon their religious rights when entering public school campuses. They are allowed, and are protected by the constitution, to express their religious freedom.

    So, can the family of a former (and unfortunately, slain) child request a religious reference to appear in a memorial on school grounds?

    If the memorial is being paid for by public funds, that is a sticky point, because it could be interpreted to fall under item 3 of the prohibited acts. If it were student organized, and privitely funded (through families, etc.) then it should be ok, if I've interpreted the above correctly. Without details of the story (JW, can you provide a link?) it's hard to say. Why the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal is what interests me -- I guess those of you who want the courts to stop messing with your religion got your wish.

    If anything, the plaque hanging in the school office is a clear violation.
  15. pupowski

    pupowski Banned

    The Greater Denver area is a bastion of political correctness and moral relativism. Those ideologies are ambiguous and inconsistent regarding matters of religion(especially Christianity), Constitutional rights, and common sense approaches to sound governance.
  16. midranger4

    midranger4 Banned

    This is most certainly another example of separation of church and state gone awry. The *powers that be* who were involved in this decision, whether the be the courts and/or the school system are sadly misguided. To refuse the families the right to include the word "God" in a memorial tile of a deceased child is absolutely horrifying.

    It becomes increaslingly apparant with each story of this type that our leaders are indeed braindead.

    What the hell has this country come to?

    I am thoroughly disgusted.
  17. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    I would argue that the operative portion of this would be "at the expense of another faith group or secular philosophy".

    It's not done at their expense at all. Any other faith, group or secular philosphy would also be welcome to put up their own tile.

    It would be a serious stretch, IMO. It wouldn't be speech on the part of the school, it would be speech on the part of the parent, permitted by the school. The schools should permit speech, and in fact they do, but seem to balk at any speech espoused by the majority.
  18. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    I was only stating what the court's interpretation might be. You are likely correct that no religious group would be singled out, or given special privilage.
    The passage (again, the court's interpretation) you responded to with the above quote was actually, in my interpretation, in favour of allowing the religous reference on the tile. The sticky point, as I mentioned (in the eyes of the court), is who is sponsoring the memorial. If public funds are paying for it, it can be legally disallowed for reasons already covered.

    It's a gray area, no doubt about it. The phrase on the tile is itself protected speech, but the memorial itself is not protected speech. The courts are no doubt looking at the precident that would be set by allowing the speech on the individual tile. If it could be argued that the memorial itself was protected speech, then that's another issue altogether, but I'm assuming it is publicly funded school property.
  19. jamming

    jamming Banned

    What's next, removing all the crosses in Arlington National Cementary?
  20. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Jamming, you biting wit is a little bit off target. The Jefferson County School District does not run Arlington. And that is who made this decision. The court ruled:

    Schools have long had more censorship abilities than other institutions. If you have a gripe with this you should refocus your attention.

    It sounds like whoever argued the case chose bad arguments or a bad approach. Then the media writes headlines to upset readers who then buy more papers. I think you all have been had.

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