I received an email this morning from the "parent" in the University Place School District we featured in yesterday's blog. He said, "Gary after you published your blog yesterday, things started happening. When the school district became aware that you had made their communications with me public, they finally responded."
I have included the further communications between the parent and the school district. For their previous communications you may read yesterday's blog.
After the communications were made public on our website, the parent received the following response from the school district:
[ parents name], as I've told you before, students who initiate 'Day of Truth'
activities would be afforded the same rights, within the same parameters,
as for any other student-initiated activities, including 'Day of Silence.'
That is profoundly dishonest. You have never stated to me in the past or
anyone else that I am aware of, that students "would be afforded the same
rights" concerning the "Day of Truth" as they are now or have been in the
past concerning the "Day of Silence," until now.
Second, you still have not answered my question. Are school officials,
teachers, students and parents in the UPSD clearly aware of this policy?
That they may speak openly and freely distribute literature about the
truth and consequences of homosexual behavior without fear of harassment,
threat, punishment, loss of employment or future denial of advancement
and salary increases.
If so, may I please see a copy of this policy in writing and the memo
that has been sent to all within the UPSD making this policy clear?
School District's response:
I have answered this same question for you in past years; my
answer has been consistent with what I believe to be our legal
obligations. Students--at all times--are entitled to their opinions and
convictions, and to voice them in school to the extent they are not
determined to be disruptive to the educational environment or to infringe
on the rights of other students. You and I have had many exchanges on
this issue (or related issues) and I have always responded to you in as
direct and honest a manner as I am able; you are entitled to disagree
with my interpretation of my responsibilities, but please do NOT call me
dishonest. I have always responded to you respectfully, and I expect the
same consideration from you. patti.
You have never in any of our previous exchanges stated that the UPSD has
a policy in place that "treats equally" - "what you believe is consistent
with your legal obligations - that students are entitled to their
opinions and convictions - and to voice them," for both the "DAY OF
TRUTH" and the highly controversial "Day of Silence," until now.
However, although you have now made this clear to me that this is UPSD
policy, you continue to dodge and duck the simple YES or NO question that
I have asked several times and have yet to receive an answer to. Have all
school officials, teachers, students and parents been made aware of this
policy? That is, that teachers and students are clearly aware that they
may freely "voice their personal opinions" about the truth and
consequences of homosexuality on the nationally recognized "DAY OF TRUTH"
(4-15-2010) like teachers and students are aware that they are free to
"voice their personal opinions" of homosexuality on the highly
controversial "Day of Silence," with the UPSD's support?
If so, may I please see a copy of this policy? May I please see a copy of
the memo or the email stating that this is UPSD policy, that has been
sent to all within the district?
Patti, I have always responded to you with respect, but it is frustrating
that you refuse to answer a simply YES or NO question and make available
what I ask.
School District's Response:
You are right; there is no specific, written policy beyond my obligations
to follow the law with regard to student speech at school. The law as I
understand it is that students may engage in a wide range of 'free speech'
activities, so long as they do not substantially or materially interfere
with the normal operation of the school, or cause a disruption, or
infringe on the rights of other students. If students choose to initiate
the 'Day of Truth' activities you outline, then we would apply these same
parameters to them, and if there was no disruption, etc., then we would
act to prohibit the students' activities.
Thank you for somewhat answering my question. However, you didn't make it
clear if all school officials, teachers, students and parents within the
district have been made aware of this policy concerning the
nationally recognized "DAY OF TRUTH?"
School District's Response:
I have communicated this to all district administrators.
Thank you for your commitment to the youth in University Place, making the schools here the benchmark of excellence in this state!
May I see a copy of this communication?
School District's Response:
I want to clarify student speech issues that may arise in association with
the 'Day of Silence' or other student initiated observances, etc. As you
may know, the Supreme Court, in Tinker, established that there be wide
latitude for student speech of any kind--including such observances as
wearing armbands (this was specifically the issue in the Tinker case),
pins/buttons, etc. Essentially, the court has held this is protected
speech, unless district administrators can establish that student
participation in these activities will cause disruption to the educational
environment, or infringe on the rights of other students. This question
has been raised recently, by community members asking whether students
would be permitted to participate in activities around a "Day of Truth", a
kind of response to the "Day of Silence" observances, and the goal of
which is to "-speak openly about the truth and consequences of
Specific to the "Day of Truth," if students chose to participate in these
observances, the same parameters would apply as would apply to the "Day of
Silence" observation. Please let me know directly if you have any
questions or concerns. patti.
This is an example of what is required to be vigilant in regard to your child and public education. It is not easy, but absolutely necessary. It is also an example of the kind of exchange parents who oppose school district's "non-sponsored" agendas can expect.
Be Prayerful. Be Vigilant. Be Respectful, but , Be Active.
Faith & Freedom
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