Posts Tagged ‘ACLU lawsuit’
A common way for school districts to get their costs covered when the local tax base won’t (or can’t) pony up for them is to charge fees, a tack particularly all the rage for school sports. However, the American Civil Liberties Union in Southern California, being the glorious freedom fighters or meddling commies they are (I seek to represent both sides), is suing the state, saying the fees violate California’s constitution, which states that public education is free.
The ACLU’s official video on the scourage of school fees.
Generally, most state constitutions have wording similar to California’s, yet we parents dutifully write checks for book fees, IDs, gym uniforms and, depending on where you live, participation fees for extracurricular activities. I would be more outraged, except what I have to pay for four kids still doesn’t come close to all the fees I had to pay sending my kids to Catholic school, so I’m still feeling giddy.
However, the freedom fighters’/meddling commies’ lawsuit does bring up an interesting point. Is it right for a school district to charge kids to play sports at a public school?
How you answer that depends on whether you believe extracurricular activities are an integral part of the school experience. I say they are. My 13-year-old, despite the experience of getting cut from a few teams, has connected to his junior high as more than just a place to learn algebra thanks to after-school activities that include theater, choir, podcasting club, band, strategy club (chess and role-playing games), gym setup (for Friday night activities) and stuff I’m probably leaving out.
The curriculum makes for a good school; the extracurriculars makes for a school to which students feel a real attachment. People who grump that school is only a place where students learn the basics are missing that it’s the other stuff that turns a drone into a thinking, feeling person.
Granted, the activities my oldest son is in are hardly the priciest out there. For example, none of them requires pads, helmets, assistant coaches, a marching band, a grounds crew and grounds, lighting and bus rides.
On top of that, and this is where the ACLU has a point beyond the constituional question, is that all these fees deny a true meritocracy in public schools. If you can’t afford the fee, you can’t play football. You can’t be in the band. You can’t be in strategy club. Heck, you can’t even get a science workbook.
However, even if the ACLU wins, it doesn’t answer the questions of how schools are going to make up that lost fee money. As, oh, every school district in the state of New Jersey has noticed, taxpayers aren’t concerned about your sob stories of having no school supplies. Suck it up, kids. Don’t you understand taxes are high, the economy sucks, and your union-bloated teachers are snorting eraser dust with $100 bills? (Hey, eraser dust is hard to get, now that everyone is using whiteboards and computers.)
The sad fact is, if the ACLU wins, the result likely is that California schools start chopping, and the families who were already spending big bucks on travel teams and just placating the prep team with their childrens’ presence will just double down on the travel teams, while other kids are left with bupkus. Hopefully, the podcasting club will survive.
Dave Daubenmire is the most successful high school football coach in America at running his offense out of the wingnut formation.
Since 1999, when he got canned from London (Ohio) High School following a lawsuit over his bringing his extreme religion into the classroom and the locker room, Daubenmire has become a right-wing media star, with multiple appearances in his ever-present cross cap on such standard who-loves-America-the-most shows such as Hannity.
Daubenmire, who as football coach at Fairfield Christian Academy in Lancaster, Ohio, can preach to the converted all he wants without the mean ol’ ACLU getting in the way, wants to fight the evil godless government from within, having filed to run as a Republican for the House of Representatives seat held by Democrat Zack Space, one of Daubenmire’s many mortal enemies.
Daubenmire said the time is right for a conservative grass-roots campaign to succeed, especially in a district dominated by Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the 2008 election.
“I could run as an independent, but I don’t want to do that,” Daubenmire said [Jan. 28] on his radio show on WLRY, in Rushville. “I’m convinced whoever wins the Republican primary will be the next elected representative in the 18th District.
“(Space) is not even a Blue Dog. We have the most traitorous Democrat, Zack Space, in that position.”
Daubenmire used his radio show to blast the president and the policies of the Democrat-controlled Congress.
“I don’t think we understand the depth of the evil that is involved in the American government,” Daubenmire said.
“We watch the president of the United States. If he is under demonic control, we watch him on TV and we are hypnotized and drawn to him and how articulate he is. We say he’d never do that or that would never happen. What are the limits of the depths of evil of the evil one? How evil could his minions be?”
The … coach said on the radio show he was still undecided about entering the race, saying he would be assaulted by news media and portrayed as an idiot.
“The question I’m struggling with, I guess, I don’t know, is who better than me to grab the sword of the spirit and go into the devil’s lair and swing that sword,” Daubenmire said.
Here is video of Daubenmire swinging his sword in a sit-in outside Space’s home office in Dover, Ohio. He vowed to sit there until Space had a town hall meeting on health system reform, specifically one involving Daubenmire personally. (Space did have meetings, though none involving the coach.)
If Daubenmire sounds like he’s moved beyond Christianity into delusion, it’s because he has. In his personal bio, Daubenmire notes he started his Pass the Salt ministry after a great victory over the American Civil Liberties Union. It sued the London City Schools on behalf of parents complaining that Daubenmire required players to participate in team prayer, and preached during practice and during class. The case was settled the day before it was supposed to go to court in 1999, and Daubenmire was fired. Here is how Daubenmire recalls the ending:
After a two year battle for his 1st amendment rights and a determination to not back down, the ACLU relented and offered coach an out of court settlement. God honored his stand and the ACLU backed off. Coach’s courageous stand, an inspiration to Americans everywhere, demonstrated that the ACLU can be defeated.
And here is the ACLU’s recollection, in a release whose title begins ACLU Declares Victory:
The settlement, which ACLU attorneys have been quietly negotiating with lawyers for the district and the coaches since early last month, prohibits future acts of religious indoctrination and establishes a system for reporting violations of the agreement to the United States District Court in Columbus [also, for two years any violations had to be reported to the ACLU]. …
[T]he London School Board voted unanimously to accept the terms offered by the ACLU.
Daubenmire also never mentioned that he sued the complaining parents for defamation — and lost.
Of course, Daubenmire has a long history of using the ACLU’s scorn and other people’s disapproval as the fuel for his holy fire, and I don’t mean the one he set when he publicly burned a copy of the Koran. Like his good buddy Alan Keyes, Daubenmire uses his runs for office (he also ran unsucessfully for the Ohio State Board of Education in 2004) to bring more attention to his own activities, and get himself more time on Fox News.
In fact, Daubenmire, as he hinted above, is running as a Republican out of expediency, not out of love for the party. He probably is insulted that the Chillcothe Gazette referred to him as a conservative, given one of his jeremiads: “Let Conservatism Die.”
Meanwhile, the modern “conservative” movement awakened by Barry Goldwater, carried up the mountain by Ronald Reagan, preached over the airwaves by Limbaugh and Hannity [editor’s note: great way to guarantee future apperances on their programs], and destroyed by GW Bush and the Republican Party is still being called “conservatism” by those on both the winning and the losing side.
… [C]onservatives went “compassionate” (which really meant compromised) and sold Christianity down the river; Only Christians aren’t smart enough to realize it. They still vote the way “conservatives” Hannity and Limbaugh tell them to, because, after all, they are “conservatives” too. Christianity and conservativism are not the same thing.
… You wouldn’t have to look very far into the “conservative” Republican Party to find the fornicators, covetous, idolators, railers, drunkards, or extortioners. Just look at the guest list at a Republican fundraiser. Those “conservatives” are the one’s [sic] that our Christian leadership are breaking bread with inside the big Republican tent. Is it any wonder they have lost? Has the Republican Party compromised their position to advance the standards of Jesus or has the Christian leadership compromised on the standards of our Savior to advance Republican candidates? … Let conservatism die.
I’m not sure the coach’s offensive activities will get him elected, but they certainly will score points with a certain amount of the electorate — the ones who enjoy watching their politics run out of the wingnut formation.