[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
Once again the brilliance of our pubic public schools has been demonstrated by a pair of special stories about the brilliance of our school administrators. Lord knows, it would be a not good, very bad idea to give kids vouchers that might allow them to escape the sheer competence of our school administrators.
First we have a group of kids who call themselves the Christmas Sweater Club near me in Haymarket, Virginia, who like to sing, spread Christmas cheer and candy canes.
So clearly they are dangerous hoodlums. And those Candy Canes? Clearly they are weapons:
Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him, “They said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with your mouth and stab people with them.” He said neither he nor any of their friend did that.
By that logic, a pencil is a weapon… Wait, maybe I shouldn’t say that. They might ban pencils, too.
Of course you can watch a short video report on the story, here:
And if you watch the video you will hear that the administration also argued that not everyone wants the Christmas spirit spread around, that suicide rates go up this time of year and so on. So then you realize we have a true rarity here: a collision between gun free school stupidity and anti-Christmas politically correct stupidity. A two-fer!
Meanwhile, apparently in Brookline, Massachusetts, they hadn’t been saying the pledge of allegiance in their schools, so they chose to bring it back in the most ham-handed way possible:
A Brookline public school is bringing back the Pledge of Allegiance next month — and the principal is asking parents to fill out permission slips before their children participate….
On Monday, Devotion Principal Gerardo J. Martinez sent a letter to parents telling them that the school would begin weekly recitations next month of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag that he’d lead over the public address system.
He said teachers and students can’t be mandated to participate in the pledge under the Constitution, and called it a personal choice to participate.
“I urge you to have a conversation as a family to help your children understand why I will be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and to support them in feeling comfortable and confident in the decision on whether or not to participate,” Martinez said in the letter.
Indeed, this is what the letter looks like:
Yes, that is right, before your child can recite the pledge, you have to sign a permission slip. Now it is true that the Supreme Court has said that no kid can be forced to recite the pledge against the wishes of his parents. That was decided in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette in dealing with a straight armed “flag salute,” where the facts alone should create an appropriate sense of discomfort. From footnote 3 in that case:
The National Headquarters of the United States Flag Association takes the position that the extension of the right arm in this salute to the flag is not the Nazi-Fascist salute, ‘although quite similar to it. In the Pledge to the Flag the right arm is extended and raised, palm Upward, whereas the Nazis extend the arm practically straight to the front (the finger tips being about even with the eyes), palm Downward, and the Fascists do the same except they raise the arm slightly higher.’
Well, glad they cleared that up.
But the Supreme Court has never said a school has to get affirmative permission from the parents to allow the students participate in the pledge. It is perfectly constitutionally permissible, for instance, for the dissenting student to be the only one in the room seated while everyone else takes the pledge. Unlike in religion clause cases, the Supreme Court is perfectly comfortable with the idea of the school clearly endorsing a thing like the pledge and even making life a little uncomfortable for those who are unwilling to take it. And bluntly, unless you are a Jehovah’s witness, or have some other issue like that, where it is not from a lack of patriotism that leads you to object, but merely having a tangential objection (the Jehovah’s witness in Barnette considered the salute to be idol worship and expressed a willingness to speak an alternate pledge which was equally patriotic but not troublesome to their faith), I don’t have a lot of sympathy for you. If you don’t love this country, why are you here?
But it gets even dumber than that, with the ACLU managing to beclown themselves:
But Sarah Wunsch, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union in Boston, said she hasn’t heard of another school using permission slips to handle the pledge.
“It suggests that this is a decision for parents alone. Are they going to enforce that?” asked Wunsch, calling the use of permission slips “really strange.”
She said that the permission slip raises the issue of what would the schools do if a student’s wishes differ from his or her parents.
“I think that’s really strange that they’d do that… even children don’t lose their right of expression simply by walking into a schoolhouse’s doors,” said Wunsch, herself a Brookline resident.
Mmm, yeah, in fact it is and should be up to the parents to determine their children’s upbringing. Indeed the Supreme Court has said that parents have a right to control their children’s upbringing in a string of cases on the issue of privacy, that were used to justify even the right to contraception, abortion and gay sex. That was why Michael Newdow lost his case challenging the Pledge of Allegiance. In that case, Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, Newdow had claimed he had standing to sue because as the father of a girl in public school he was injured in his ability to instill his atheism into his daughter by those dreaded words “under God.” But, the Supreme Court correctly explain that the problem with that claim was that he was divorced from the mother and she had been granted custody of the daughter and thus “the custodial parent undoubtedly has the right to make ultimate decisions concerning the child’s religious upbringing.” Newdow retained the right to talk to their child about his faith, but the mother could enroll their daughter in a religious school for all she cared, and he couldn’t do a thing about it. Therefore he had no power to control his child’s upbringing, and had no right to sue for the School supposedly infringing on it.
But if the ACLU is confused about parents’ right to actually, you know, teach their children values, so is at least one of the parents sampled in this article:
“It’s uncomfortable. The pledge is a promise, and I’ve always taught my kids to think very carefully before making any promise. It’s not a decision I want to make for them,” said Judi Puritz Cook, who has two sons at the Devotion School….
She said she supports the school’s efforts to be inclusive of everyone, and feels that restarting the pledge after at least seven years was contrary to that.
“We’re celebrating diversity and including people… and then to be the one sitting there, waiting for the pledge to finish, [that] doesn’t feel inclusive,” said Cook, who later noted, “Yeah, it’s weird. That’s the right word for it.”
Yes, it is weird to suggest that people pledge allegiance to their own country. God forbid we do that.
Ah but then again maybe this won’t be a problem if “God, willing one day the border will become an irrelevancy,” right, Representative Keith Ellison?
Yes, the idiot really said that. And people really agreed. Jesus wept.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]