“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
— Thomas Jefferson
I dare say I get hundreds of emails each day. Last week, as I sifted through the spam, press releases and miscellaneous files collected in my inbox, one from concernedparent75 sparked my interest.
The person clued us in on a new club at Wilson Central High School, but – living up to the alias – concernedparent75 didn’t appear to be all that pleased with it.
Now let me start by saying that despite the words, “Our Views,” at the top of this page and that I can basically write whatever I want – within reason – in this space, I’m going to leave the opinions for the readers this week.
That’s not to say I don’t want to hear them. Certainly let me know what you think.
Back to my story, the following is the email I received from concernedparent75.
“As we all know school has started back and there is a lot of information coming home. My child attends Wilson Central High School. To my surprise my child came home with an agenda addendum showing some new clubs being offered at the school. One of these so-called clubs/organizations is called the GLSEN.
This is a gay and lesbian club now being offered in our schools. I am appalled by this. Don’t get me wrong, people can be who they are, but what appalls me about this is that we can’t have prayer in schools, ball games or any mention of God, and yet we can promote the gay and lesbian lifestyle to our children and have a club/organization for this as well? This lifestyle should not be taught in schools to our children. We can’t teach your child about God.
“FCA is a club/organization that meets outside of the school. When there is National Prayer Day, it is to be outside of the school. Remember not too long ago teachers were not allowed to participate in National Prayer Day. We have God sitting on our doorsteps but won’t let him in. Does anyone see something wrong with this?
“All I am saying is that if you are going to allow a gay/lesbian club/organization inside of the school then let God be there too. Why would you not?
“I am voicing my opinion to which some will not stand up. I am a Christian and have sat back long enough to watch God be taken out of our schools and pulled out of other areas and aspects of our lives. This makes me sick that we have let this happen. We are currently making exceptions for other religions and organizations to have their say. We are still Christians, and we should also have a say instead of being passed by or fought against because of our beliefs. We have given into atheists when they have caused uproar about prayer in schools. Instead we as Christians should be standing up fighting for our God and prayer to be put back into schools instead of sitting on our couches shaking our heads saying, ‘It’s just not right.’ To those of you who are atheists and other believers, if you don’t want to pray then sit down. No one is forcing you to participate in prayer or to believe our beliefs, but we as Christians are being forced to participate in your ways.
“We get no option. It’s basically sit down, shut up and suck it up. Well I am tired of sucking it up and shutting up. I have absolutely had enough.
Ask yourself this… When does it stop?”
So I emailed concernedparent75 back and said we would look into the new school club at Wilson Central. I offered the person the opportunity to also have a voice in the story to provide balance, but we would have to include a name. This is the response I received.
“I would love to, but again my child would be the one scrutinized. My child is the only one in the school with our last name so therefore it would make it obvious. I would hope that you would understand no child needs to be criticized for my actions. Then that would only create another situation with bullying and with certain teachers treating him differently. It’s a shame that we live in a country that I can’t even express my feelings without using my last name to protect my child. But I understand you have to do what you have to do. If you change your mind about using my last name feel free to contact me.”
So staff writer Caitlin Rickard found out more about the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network – a U.S. organization that looks to end bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to Director of Schools Tim Setterlund, a federal law passed in 1984 called the Equal Access Act compels schools to provide equal access for extracurricular clubs.
The law also prevents administrators from forcing their beliefs on students, Setterlund said.
“If we offer one club that is a non-academic club, like a Pokémon Club, for example, we have to be open to offer any other club, too,” Setterlund said. “I’ve received several messages about this club, and people should know that if we didn’t want to recognize this club then we couldn’t have any extracurricular clubs at all, by law.”
Setterlund said the club is an option because a student expressed his or her interest in it and requested to have a chapter at Wilson Central.
Those are the facts. What’s your opinion?