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Subject:  Re: Political OT: Church v. State Date:  6/28/2002  6:45 PM
Author:  freed2002 Number:  132227 of 312159

I'd like to toss something in here that's sort of off the thread, and certainly OT, but still in the general area. I'd just like to know everyone's thoughts on this situation.

I am a public school teacher. We have several students who are Jehovah's Witnesses, and who have parents with very strong opinions regarding their children's rights within the public school framework. The first year I had one in my class, my first contact with the parent was when she handed me a booklet entitled "Jehovah's Witnesses and State-sponsored Schools." It outlined what students could - but mostly could not - do. They aren't to say the Pledge, can't sing any kind of a school song, even as part of a music class, can't participate in other kids' classroom birthday celebrations, and the list goes on. I even had one student bring me a sucker she'd bought from the Student Council sucker sale and say "I can't eat this." It had a design of an American flag on it. I ended up buying her another one, cause she'd already opened it.

Well, that's all fine. I'm happy to help them achieve their goals for their kids. I try really hard to teach my students the value of tolerance, and the need to respect other people's opinions and beliefs. And in fact, I have sort of become the 3rd grade teacher of choice for many of our Witnesses' kids because of other parents' experiences with me.

BUT...I had Witness twins this year. A large family, low-income. And the kids participated in the Government Free and Reduced-Price Lunch program. Well, I never said anything to the family, but that really just sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Can't have a sucker with a flag on it, but, hey - let me at those free lunches!!

I'd be interested in knowing what the board's thoughts are....

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