NC School Gives Up on SSA Club

Administrators at Pigsah High School in North Carolina have rescinded their refusal to recognize a Secular Student Alliance club under threat of a lawsuit over it. Glad they came to their senses, but I remain baffled by how ignorant those administrators were of the law in the first place.

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  • richardelguru

    Is it ignorance or is it the ole bully tactic of trying it on and getting away with what you can?

  • Alverant

    I think they knew fully well that what they did was illegal, but decided their religious opinions took priority. It wasn’t until they got attention and a threat of a law suit did they relent. They knew they were going to lose.

  • John Pieret

    Is it ignorance or is it the ole bully tactic of trying it on and getting away with what you can?

    What undoubtably happened is, when they got in the treat of a lawsuit, they turned it over to their insurance carrier, as they are required to do by their insurance policy, and the carrier’s lawyers told them that, not only were they in clear violation of the law, but that, if they persisted, the carrier would disclaim.

    Whether it was initially ignorance or bullying is an open question but I’d guess it was ignorance coupled with arrogance … as in ‘this is OUR school and we can do what we like as long as the majority of the public agrees.’

    Given how little understanding of the Constitution wingnuts and conservatives in general display, I think that is the most parsimonious explanation.

  • eric

    Some slightly good news; based on other coverage, it appears there were at least two teachers perfectly willing to be the club’s sponsor…once they found out about the issue, which they didn’t know about before because the administration never told the teachers there was a club looking for a sponsor.

    IOW, the anti-secular bigotry appears to be limited to the schools administrative personnel, and is not widespread among the teaching staff.

  • Wylann

    eric@4: I thought I saw a report that the administration asked a couple of teachers, but the teachers didn’t want to be involved. I’m going to go out on a limb, assuming that part was true, and guess the administration asked a couple of teachers they knew were in their little clique of jeebus circle jerkers.

  • eric

    @5 – sounds like a reasonable assumption. I’d believe the administrators and some of the teaching staff.

  • cry4turtles

    This news makes me wish I was still in high school- briefly.

  • magistramarla

    @5 & 6

    I agree. That was my experience in Texas. The students who were wanting to form a GSA group were told to find their own sponsor. They were turned down by several teachers before one of my Latin students thought to ask me. There had been no notice sent out by the administration at all.

    The AP’s comment to me was “Thank you for agreeing to babysit these troublemakers”.

    That made me determined to be the best mentor I could be for those kids.

  • Ichthyic

    In the comments section of the main article this refers to, one of the commenters ignorantly thought that atheism wasn’t covered under the civil rights act or first amendment because it isn’t a “religion”.

    I had to point out to them exactly how wrong they were, and cite the two relevant SCOTUS cases (United States v. Seeger and Welsh v. United States) where this was decided literally, though the “spirit” of the issue was decided long before that.

    I also noted, while going back over an old sciblog post on the issue (attacking Nisbet and Mooney for being stupidly ignorant on the issue themselves), a post by our old friend Heddle, where he responds to the issue of civil rights for atheists with this (from 2007)…

    Give me a break. Apart from anecdotally, a resort to which any group (including Christians) can turn, atheists are not oppressed. Not even close. They are not systematically discriminated against in statutes, housing, jobs, medical benefits, etc. The fact that you have to put up with proselytizing cannot even be compared in the same breath with anyone who is truly oppressed. I get proselytized by the Mormons and the JWs–I find their admonitions just as wrong as you find an evangelical Christian’s message–but it’s simply (and obviously to anyone without a victimhood complex) a modest price for living in a free society.

    First, let me say that this is the kind of thing that has kept me making fun of Heddle for years now, but the real issue is… I wonder if he has finally learned better after the intervening years?

    I’m betting not, but curious to see if he reads this….

    poor little sheltered old man that he is, he likely never did bother to actually find out if any atheists really are discriminated against, or bother to check out any of the court cases that went all the way to SCOTUS where it was clear they were.

    so what about it, Heddle? learned yourself better yet?