Reader letters, March 11

Mar 07, 2014

Faculty participation cannot be coerced

To the editor:

A couple of points are worth noting in the wake of developments surrounding the “Student Secular Club” at Pisgah High School.

Clearly, the media’s coverage of the topic has revolved almost exclusively around the obligation of public schools to provide equal access for student groups.

This is true if the school has a “limited open forum” for one or more other non-curriculum related groups.

The Federal Equal Access Act does, indeed, provide assurance of freedom from unfair restrictions upon the student group(s) in question.  What has been missing, however, is the acknowledgement that the Act also provides protection for schools and school personnel who may be adversely affected in some way or other by the Act’s requirements.

Title 20 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 52, Sub-Chapter VIII, Section 4071, clearly states the following:

(c) “Schools shall be deemed to offer a fair opportunity to students who wish to conduct a meeting within its limited open forum if such school uniformly provides [among other things] that:

(5) “Non-school persons may not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend activities of student groups.”

And, “Nothing in this sub-chapter shall be construed to authorize the United States or any state or political subdivision thereof – [among other things]

(4) to compel any school agent or employee to attend a school meeting if the content of the speech at the meeting is contrary to the beliefs of the agent or employee;”

It appears from the public  reporting of this issue that both of these elements may very well have been involved to some degree.  Hopefully, the interests of all parties have been served by the outcome.

Samuel S. Smith



Vaccination issue raises questions

To the editor:

I was eager to get my son enrolled in a Methodist pre-school program and a new experience. We spent an hour filling out paperwork, paid the registration fee, and ended up being denied enrollment because my son isn’t vaccinated.

My son did have a run of vaccines as an infant, but I was flabbergasted when I took my newborn into the pediatrician’s office and they gave me five pages of literature front and back, said they would be back in a couple of minutes to administer the vaccinations.

Whoa, my mind was racing. I couldn’t possibly read all this information, research it, and discuss it in that amount of time.

I left that day defeated as a new mother because I hadn’t been prepared or educated on what was done to my child. I came home and made the decision that I would do my duty, as a parent, to at least know what they were injecting into my child’s blood stream.

I asked the director of the pre-K if she accepted a religious exemption, since it is after all a religious organization, the answer was no. Now I am shocked. N.C. state law says that a religious exemption must be granted without question if vaccination conflicts with a person’s religious convictions.

We then discovered that on April 29, 2008, in Fort Worth, Texas, that the General Conference, which is the top decision making body of the United Methodist Church, decided on the resolution of “Protecting children from mercury-containing drugs.”

Mercury is a known poison, neurotoxin and carcinogen. Aluminum is associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia, link with Hepatitis B vaccine and rheumatoid arthritis, monosodium glutamate and the many knows symptoms of headaches and heart palpitations.

A vaccination is a killed bacteria or a live virus that can also contain formaldehyde. My purpose here is to start a conversation.

Praise God we live in America where we are free to have an opinion. Let us be aware of what goes into our bodies and the precious bodies of our children. Whatever your decision may be, become aware, research, ask questions.

Protect and stand up for what you believe in. Thank you to the United Methodist mothers who have been open and affected by this.

Lindsay Henline-Davis


Comments (3)
Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 11, 2014 11:41

                         Dear Samuel S. Smith;


                         The question as to why the students were denied access by means of the Equal Access Act has not been answered sufficiently in my opinion. This failure is what brought the response from the ACLU, etc.As being denied there is no need to address the rights of school employees.




Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 11, 2014 11:54

Mr. Zimmerman, the school attorney claims no access was denied but the proper process was not followed.  The response from the ACLU apparently was a response from a call from the Wilson family.  The school attorney also questions the motivations of that call to the ACLU since there was no legitimate effort to address the issue with school officials.


Indeed it IS appropriate to address the rights of school employees as none wanted to sponsor the secular club.  Somehow, one (or two) faculty members were convinced to sponsor the club.  Did anyone violate their rights by coercing them to sponsor the club?  It is a fair question.  And one that might explain why the club had trouble/delay in finding a sponsor in the first place.  (If that is still the claim by the accuser.)


Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 12, 2014 10:04

                   Most certainly access was initially denied as was well documented as principle advised young man not to pursue the issue in violation of Equal Access Act. That violation was what drew the response from the ACLU, etc.

                   Students rights come first. No student(s) rights to have a club and use publicly funded facilities may be denied if the school allows any other such use. If no "sponser" can be found so be it, but that does not negate the students rights.

                   The question not answered is why did the principle deny any student use by means of Equal Access Act?


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