A Child Wants to Read the Bible in Class. School Officials Say That’s Fine. So Why the Lawsuit Threat?

I never understand why parents or grandparents (or their lawyers) run to the media the very moment they think they’re being oppressed by a school administrator when a simple phone call would probably clear everything up. At La Costa Heights Elementary School in Carlsbad, California, Craig and Lori Nordal, the grandparents of a fourth grade [Read More...]

A Good Idea? Maryland County Schools Decide To Strike All Religious Holidays From Next Year’s Calendar

Upsetting news: the 2015-2016 official school calendar of Montgomery County, Maryland won’t mention National Pasta Day (17 October).

Actually, I don’t give a damn about that, but Pastafarians might. In theory, and on principle, I’d have to side with their silliness, should it come to pass. If one religion gets its holidays listed, then, by rights, all others should receive the same state-recognized honor as soon as believers ask. It’s never a good idea for public schools to take the Constitution’s Establishment Clause lightly.

In recent months, Maryland Muslims have advocated putting one of Islam’s holidays, Eid al-Adha, on said calendar. More power to them, I say. Their request is at least as reasonable as the so-far fictional one in the Pastafarianism example above. But when the Montgomery Board of Education, spurred by the Muslim activists, re-evaluated the practice of including religious references on school calendars, a majority of the board’s members decided to treat everyone the same: by declining to print any religious holidays on its school schedule from now on.

School officials said the time off in December would become “winter break,” while the time off around the Easter holiday would be called “spring break.” Other days, such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, would be simply listed as a day when there is “no school for students and teachers.” … In practical terms, Montgomery schools will still be closed for the Christian and Jewish holidays, as in previous years, and students will still get the same days off, as planned.



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Injunction Filed on Behalf of Second Grader Who Wants to Hand Out Candy Canes with Biblical Messages on Them

About a year ago, 6-year-old Isaiah Martinez (below) went to Merced Elementary School in West Covina, California with a pack of candy canes in hand to give to his classmates. Each candy cane had attached to it a religious message that told the “legend of the candy cane” which, believe it or not, has everything to do with Jesus dying on a cross. (He’s wrong about that, by the way.)

His teacher, not wanting to get in trouble, removed the messages from the candy canes, then handed them back to Isaiah to give to his friends, apparently telling him “Jesus is not allowed in school.”

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Genitalia Drawings Replaced with Images of Baby Animals in This Turkish Biology Textbook

In the U.S., we have battles over proper sex education.

In Turkey, they’re having battles when it comes to teaching kids about their own body parts.

A psychology expert who once ran a local teachers’ union realized that a page in a sixth-grade biology textbook that used to show anatomy-book drawings of genitalia is no longer there:

In the new version of the book, genitalia have only been drawn on the cell level, while the reproduction chapter has been “evaded” with photos of a mother and a baby, as well as cute animals such as polar bears, he added.

Tunalı also claimed that the same section is now being taught “shortly, superficially and in a slapdash manner.”



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It Doesn’t Make Sense for This Colorado High School to Ban a Student Prayer Group

At the high school I used to work at, when I first began teaching there, I was amazed to learn that one period each day was considered an “optional” period for students. They could take another class if they wanted, but it was really free time when they could clear their minds, get academic help from teachers who were available that period, catch up with their friends, or study in the library. For many students, it was a nice break from an otherwise stressful day. And it was a really neat thing to see teachers (who were assigned to monitor the students) chatting with kids about what was going on in and out of school. What a novel way to build up a great community and establish rapport between students and teachers. (Our district eventually eliminated that period for understandable reasons, but it was still disappointing.)

That’s what I believe officials at Pine Creek High School near Colorado Springs had in mind with their “seminar” period.



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