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Is this upholding separation of church/state, or an even more blatant violation of establishment of religion?

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Yes, the source is biased. I couldn't find an objectional article on the issue, other than the policy in writing here. READ IT. As for a quick summary:

Indianapolis Schools Ban Atheism Websites

by Jesse Galef

The Indianapolis Public School system has a policy to ban certain websites from being viewed at school.  I certainly hated it when I was in high school (we found ways to bypass it if course) but it’s a reasonable idea.  And the list of subjects banned is pretty straightforward: Pornography, Social Networking, Atheism and “Alternative Spirituality”, Games –

Wait, what?  Sites on ‘alternative spirituality’ are banned?  From the policy (pdf hosted on FFRF website):

“Sites that promote and provide information on religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft or Satanism.  Occult Practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or other forms of mysticism are represented here…  This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.”  [emphasis mine]

Any site addressing LGBT issues or sexual identity is also banned – great idea for the kids going through confusing times, right?

Ok, first of all, I don’t know why “atheistic views” are in the same category as Satanism.  But ignoring that idiocy, this is hugely discriminatory.  “Normal” religious sites are allowed, but not the “scary minority” religious views.  I could understand if all religious sites were banned but there’s no way to justify banning only some.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is on the case, writing a letter to the superintendent and urging people to voice their concerns.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2009/11/indianapolis-schools-ban-atheism-websites/


"Women need not always keep their mouths shut and their wombs open." -Emma Goldman
 


http://masqueradingscientist.blogspot.com/




 




 




 




 

by on Jan. 20, 2013 at 5:25 PM
Replies (11-20):
stringtheory
by Gold Member on Jan. 20, 2013 at 5:53 PM
If you look at the policy, it doesn't seem to ban anything Christian

Quoting FromAtoZ:

As long as sites on Christianity are banned as well, while at school, I have no issue with this.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 20, 2013 at 5:53 PM


Quoting romalove:


Quoting FromAtoZ:

As long as sites on Christianity are banned as well, while at school, I have no issue with this.

Did you read the policy?


About to.  Going back and forth from here to watching the game.

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 20, 2013 at 5:57 PM


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting FromAtoZ:

As long as sites on Christianity are banned as well, while at school, I have no issue with this.

Did you read the policy?


About to.  Going back and forth from here to watching the game.

OK.  :-)


FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 20, 2013 at 5:57 PM

So, I just pulled up the policy for my daughter's school.  It includes what is listed for this district, including any and all things Christian and any/all other religions.  If it is necessary to do such research, it will be done either at home or once the parents permission is received.

This policy is wrong in that it does not include all.

stringtheory
by Gold Member on Jan. 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM
1 mom liked this

Upon further research, it appears FFRF was in the right on this one:

Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 9 November 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF Legal Victories

School halts classroom bible distributions

Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott sent a letter Oct. 19 to Perkins-Tryon Public Schools (Perkins, Okla.) to object to Gideons International distributing bibles in classrooms to students at Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School.

“It is unconstitutional for public school districts to allow the Gideons to distribute bibles during the school day,” wrote Elliott. “Courts uniformly have held the distribution of bibles to students at public schools during instructional time is prohibited.”

An attorney for the school district responded Oct. 25 that the distribution of bibles “was inconsistent with District’s policy regarding the same.” She noted the policy “comports with constitutional requirements,” and that the district “will ensure that future distributions of materials comply with the established policy.”

The policy severely restricts distribution of print materials, but does allow for some items to be placed on a table in the school to be passively distributed. Since Gideons International did not follow the rules, they may be prohibited from any future attempts at distributing bibles.

“While the policy is not ideal,” remarked Elliott, “it will prevent the Gideons from distributing bibles to most students and will stop them from forcefully pushing the bibles. I’m sure the district would reconsider the policy should other people or groups start to utilize the policy. If a ‘There is no god’ flier were distributed, I bet the school would start to see the problem with using part of the school as a ‘limited open forum.’ ”

Schools stop censoring of atheist websites

Indianapolis Public Schools received considerable criticism in 2009 when its Internet filtering policy was made public and residents complained to FFRF and the ACLU. The policy censored websites with information about “alternative spirituality/belief,” including atheistic views, and sites advocating for full civil rights for gays and lesbians.

The policy banned websites “that promote and provide information on religions such as Wicca, Witchcraft or Satanism. Occult practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or any other form of mysticism are represented here. Includes sites that endorse or offer methods of, means of instruction, or other resources to affect or influence real events through the use of spells, incantations, curses and magic powers. This category includes sites which discuss or deal with paranormal or unexplained events.”

“This section of the filtering policy is unlawful because it blocks harmless websites about various religious beliefs, or nonbelief, which are protected speech under the First Amendment,” FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote in a letter to the superintendent.

Markert pointed out that “the filtering policy of Indianapolis School District is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination under the First Amendment. . . . The policy blocking access to ‘atheist views’ prefers religion over nonreligion, which the government cannot do.”

After several follow-up letters, the district responded that its Internet filtering policy had been amended. The new policy includes anti-discrimination language and excludes the discriminatory language.

W.O.W. evangelicals invaded middle school

McAlester Public Schools in Oklahoma took action after an Oct. 13 complaint from FFRF about religious proselytizing at Puterbaugh Middle School with a program called W.O.W. (Worship On Wednesdays).

“We were informed that during each Wednesday lunch period, students participating in W.O.W. are escorted to the front of the lunch line in front of the other students,” wrote Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott. “We understand that they then go to Mr. Newman’s room, Room 2, for a preaching session. We are told that Mr. Newman brings pastors from the community to preach to the students and that

Mr. Newman speaks to the students on occasion.”

A local complainant told FFRF that Pastor Steve Mayhew of First Free Will Baptist Church preached to and prayed to students Sept. 29. Elliott added: “Our complainant informs us that a concerned parent contacted Superintendent Tom Condict by telephone about W.O.W. The parent told Mr. Condict that federal law did not allow such an activity to occur in public schools. The parent reported that Mr. Condict said, ‘I don’t care what federal law says.’ We understand that Superintendent Condict has taken no action in regards to W.O.W. since the parent’s phone call.”

An adult-led Christian group named Wyldlife is also advertised at the school with posters and intercom announcements. Wyldlife has the goal of “introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them to grow in their faith.”

Elliott said that a public school and its personnel cannot organize, authorize or otherwise coordinate a Christian ministry program. “Even if school personnel were not involved, it is illegal for public schools to allow religious instruction to occur on school property during the school day.”

It’s unclear if parents had knowledge of their child’s attendance at W.O.W. or if parental written authorization was solicited by the school.

On Nov. 11, school attorney William Ervin Sr. responded: “This is to inform you that the Board of Education of McAlester Public Schools at their November 8, 2010, monthly board meeting decided [7-0] all nonschool-sponsored group meetings should be suspended until a determination could be made as to whether such meetings were in fact being conducted in accordance with the District’s policy concerning such matters. The suspension will remain in effect until further action of the Board, at which time I will further advise you.

Elliott has learned that since FFRF’s letter, W.O.W. students are no longer escorted in front of other students at lunch, and that the school has made clear that teachers and outside adults may longer participate in W.O.W.

School admits Christian fundraiser was wrong

FFRF sent a letter in June 2010 to the Hillsborough County School District (Tampa, Fla.) objecting on behalf of a parent concerned about Bartels Middle School distributing fliers soliciting contributions to a school in Namibia, Africa. The flier failed to mention the school was Christian and failed to include a required disclaimer distancing the school from official sponsorship or endorsement of the program. It also didn’t list the flier’s sponsor: the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The flier said that checks made out to Bartels Middle School would be accepted.

In an attempt to remedy the violation after complaints, the school redistributed the flier, still without a disclaimer, asking for donations to a Christian school. “The new flier did nothing to disassociate the school from the religious organization, but rather seemed to further amplify the school’s endorsement of the Christian academy,” wrote Rebecca Markert, FFRF staff attorney, in a follow-up.

“By promoting this fundraiser as a ‘school-wide event,’ asking ‘EVERY student and family’ to participate, and involving teachers and staff to collect donations, Bartels Middle School lent its support and aid to a sectarian institution,” Markert said.

An attorney for the district responded Oct. 11: “The events which occurred at Bartels Middle School violated several School Board policies, including the prohibition of student fundraising without the express approval of the superintendent. . . . The appeal should not have been conducted through the school because of the just-cited policy.”

Coach prays, has pastor bless football helmets

FFRF complained Oct. 7 to the Redlands [Calif.] Unified School District about a serious state-church violation at Redlands High School football practices and games. A complainant informed FFRF, which has about 2,500 members in California, that the team and coach regularly recite the Lord’s Prayer and traditionally open the first practice of the season with a “blessing of the helmets.”

“First and foremost, it is illegal for a public school athletic coach to be leading his team in prayer,” wrote Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott. “The Supreme Court has continually struck down formal and teacher or school-led prayer in public schools.”

The Redlands Daily Facts reported that the team’s coach invited Larry White, pastor of Horizon Church [core value: Christ-centered worship] in Victorville to deliver the “blessing of the helmets” prayer.

The coach “cannot be allowed to engage in religious ritual with students or encourage his student athletes to have particular religious beliefs. Establishment Clause concerns are especially heightened given the coercive pressure for student athletes to follow the direction of their coach,” said Elliott. He requested in writing the steps the district is taking to remedy the violations.
Compiled by Bill Dunn and Bonnie Gutsch.

circle_of_life
by Bronze Member on Jan. 20, 2013 at 6:01 PM

 It should be all or nothing. It's not right to ban certain religious/spiritual sites and not others.

stringtheory
by Gold Member on Jan. 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM
2 moms liked this

While FFRF was successful in this case, I think that it highlights the fact that there is a discriminatory preference for christian students. I have pointed out before that my own affiliation with church and youth group gave me opportunities in public schools that it should not have; I was a good student but picked for leadership positions based on my church membership. While I understand that my affiliation may have shown some propensity to commitment, I don't believe that my own daughter is any less qualified for these positions because she does not have a christian affiliation. This policy was a blatant endorsement of christianity and although it has been changed, those making decisions for students likely still have the prejudice that brought about the policy in the first place. The separation and non-establishment needs to be more ingrained in public policy. This does not make me a militant, it makes me a concerned mother.

romalove
by Roma on Jan. 20, 2013 at 6:14 PM


Quoting stringtheory:

While FFRF was successful in this case, I think that it highlights the fact that there is a discriminatory preference for christian students. I have pointed out before that my own affiliation with church and youth group gave me opportunities in public schools that it should not have; I was a good student but picked for leadership positions based on my church membership. While I understand that my affiliation may have shown some propensity to commitment, I don't believe that my own daughter is any less qualified for these positions because she does not have a christian affiliation. This policy was a blatant endorsement of christianity and although it has been changed, those making decisions for students likely still have the prejudice that brought about the policy in the first place. The separation and non-establishment needs to be more ingrained in public policy. This does not make me a militant, it makes me a concerned mother.

If you want to be militant I will lend you my beret.  

stringtheory
by Gold Member on Jan. 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stringtheory:

While FFRF was successful in this case, I think that it highlights the fact that there is a discriminatory preference for christian students. I have pointed out before that my own affiliation with church and youth group gave me opportunities in public schools that it should not have; I was a good student but picked for leadership positions based on my church membership. While I understand that my affiliation may have shown some propensity to commitment, I don't believe that my own daughter is any less qualified for these positions because she does not have a christian affiliation. This policy was a blatant endorsement of christianity and although it has been changed, those making decisions for students likely still have the prejudice that brought about the policy in the first place. The separation and non-establishment needs to be more ingrained in public policy. This does not make me a militant, it makes me a concerned mother.

If you want to be militant I will lend you my beret.  

Sweet. I keep trying to grow a goatee (that's a thing we do, right?).

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Jan. 20, 2013 at 6:22 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting circle_of_life:

 It should be all or nothing. It's not right to ban certain religious/spiritual sites and not others.

IMO atheism isn't a religion. Banning such a site only hinders those who might choose to learn more about it during school hours.


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