Saturday, May 21, 2011

ACLU Double Standard in Public Schools on a Single Person Bringing Complaints

ACLU uses double standard to threaten NJ public school.
The ACLU has a double standard, it applies that double standard in public schools, then it threatens suit to enforce its double standard.  Basically, the ACLU decries claimed "censorship" simply because a single person makes a complaint, yet the ACLU brings thinly veiled threats to sue public schools based on a single person's complaint, and that complainant isn't even a parent, isn't even a member of the school community!

Watch "ACLU Threatens Lawsuit Over Graduation Site; Cross Causing Problems for High School," by Steve Doocy, FOX News, 20 May 2011, and notice the extensive discussion with a Neptune High School student and his mom of the single person complaining to the ACLU:

Read more here, from the local Asbury Park Press:

Compare that to the many cases where the ACLU threatens to sue other schools precisely for removing inappropriate material after the complaint of only one parent.  Here's a sample:

  • "Free Speech Groups Oppose Censorship of 'Bless Me, Ultima,'" by Joan Bertin, National Coalition Against Censorship, 9 January 2009, bold emphasis mine.
    Dear Members of the Board of Trustees:

    We write to urge you to reinstate Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya in high school classrooms in Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District.  Based on the report of the recent school board meeting in the Modesto Bee (January 6, 2008), it is clear that the student's parent who challenged the book objected to it because she believes it is anti-Catholic, and that Superintendent Rick Fauss banned the book on this basis without actually having read it.  In our opinion, the removal of the book under these circumstances violates the school board’s obligations under the First Amendment.  We hope that the action will be reversed expeditiously.

    As the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California stated in a letter dated December 15, 2008, removing a book from the curriculum on the basis of its perceived religious viewpoints is constitutionally unsound and potentially exposes the school district to legal liability.   Indeed, the district is far more susceptible to legal challenge by banning the book than it would be by keeping it in the curriculum.

    It is well established that parents have no enforceable right to have their viewpoint reflected in the school curriculum.  No parent has the right "to tell a public school what his or her child will and will not be taught."  Leebaert v. Harrington, 332 F.3d 134, 141 (2d Cir. 2003).  Nor do parents have "a fundamental right generally to direct how a public school teaches their child."  Blau v. Fort Thomas Public School District, et al [sic], 401 F.3d 381, 395 (6th Cir. 2005).   Furthermore, the school has a constitutional obligation not to endorse or accommodate a particular perspective or viewpoint at the expense of alternative views:  "Local school boards may not remove books from school libraries simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to 'prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.'"  Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853, 872 (1982) (plurality opinion) citing West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943).
    The practical effect of acceding to any parent's request to censor materials will be to invite others to demand changes in the curriculum to reflect their beliefs and to leave school officials vulnerable to multiple, possibly conflicting, demands.

    We strongly urge you to restore Bless Me, Ultima to high school classrooms in your school district.  Individual freedom, democracy, and a good education all depend on protecting the right to read, inquire, question, and think for ourselves.
    If we can be of assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.



    Andre Segura
    Civil Liberties Fellow
    American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California

Double standard, anyone?

For your interest, here is a quote from PABBIS quoting Bless Me, Ultima, which, according to the ACLU, contains "ideas" that teach "individual freedom, democracy, and a good education":

At school he pretends he is a priest taking confessions:  "..Tell him only your worst one R. coaxed H. ......I made a whole in the wall... could see into the girls bathroom... could see everything.. her ass...hear the pee... You have sinned i said...  There's more ..  I saw a teacher..... it was biggggggggggg....... give him penance the girls are dirty H. they cried....... me next! .....B. shouted.  I got a better sin than H.  ....Bless me, father!  .....he kept making sign of the cross over and over....... i saw a boy and girl fucking in the grass.....smiled proudly and looked around...  Ah, I see them every night under the railroad bridge V. scoffed... naked!  Jumping up and down.  Give me penance (B. said) .. a rosary to the Virgin, I said .....Like H.? he shouted.  .....but my sin was bigger .. he threw me down.... another rosary for daring to touch the priest...that made him happy and he settled down... F. next...they grabbed F. and made him kneel in front of me.....  No! i protested....  Confess him they chanted...what are your sins I asked? ...  I don’t have any F. said ..... Tell me one sin I pleaded ....  Confess your sins or your go to hell R. cried out .....  It was God who has sinned against me (F. said)...  They were gathering around me now, I could feel their presence and hot bitter breath. ...they wanted me to punish F. ...  Make his penance hard....  Make him kneel and we’ll beat him ....  Stone him! ...beat him! ..kill him!..." 


Oh look, the ACLU threatened another school community, and, like how Neptune High School treated the ACLU, the ACLU was roundly ignored, after taxpayers got charged for initial compliance with the ACLU's demand.  This picture of the Neptune High School logo should give a hint as to how the ACLU was treated:

Neptune High School logo.

As usual, a single person complaining was enough for the ACLU.  It appears the ACLU is losing its power to threaten.  Enjoy:

Oh wait, Bastrop High School has a graphic message for the ACLU as well:

Bastrop High School logo.

Remember how the ACLU decried "censorship" when it attempted to force a school to allow inappropriate material for children?  See how the ACLU goes around the country threatening school communities to censor out any reference to Christianity?  It reminds me of how true is the following quote from Dan Gerstein:

The ... elites have convinced themselves that they are taking a stand against cultural tyranny. .... [T]he reality is that it is those who cry "Censorship!" the loudest who are the ones trying to stifle speech and force their moral world-view on others.


See also "The ACLU's Double Standard," by Dennis Ingolfsland, The Recliner Commentaries, 21 May 2011.

Interesting:  Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 400 F. Supp. 2d 707 (M.D. Pa. 2005).


The ACLU is threatening Bastrop High School again, even ordering that a student be disciplined and the community be reeducated.  Read the ACLU's latest threat to the school—the language is confrontational and demanding—the ACLU must have a complex if it thinks it can go around and threaten schools and communities this way:
If every school defied the ACLU, the ACLU would lack the wherewithal to threaten them.  Besides they are public schools, not ACLU schools.


And the ACLU threatened yet another school, again based on the complaint of a single person, actually got a federal judge to order the school what not to say—so much for freedom of speech, right?—and a federal appeals court just overruled the lower court and ordered the ACLU to take a flying leap.  See for yourself:
  • "Federal Court Lifts Ban on Public Prayer at Texas High School Graduation After Uproar," by Todd Starnes and AP, FOXNews, 3 June 2011.
    "This is a complete victory for religious freedom and for Angela," said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute, which had represented class valedictorian Angela Hildenbrand in the appeal.  "We are thrilled that she will be able to give her prayer without censorship in her valedictorian speech tomorrow night.  No citizen has the right to ask the government to bind and gag the free speech of another citizen."

    Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery's initial ban had been denounced as an "activist decision" by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who called it "exactly the wrong civics lesson to teach to the class of 2011."

    Biery had ruled Thursday in favor of Christa and Danny Schultz, who sued to block such religious expressions at their son's graduation.  Among the words or phrases Biery had banned were:  “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”

    He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program, in favor of "opening remarks" and "closing remarks."

    Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott responded by voicing support for the school district in its appeal.

    “Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country,” Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into “speech police.”

    “I’ve never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government,” Abbott told Fox News Radio.  “It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment.”

Can you believe this?  The vaunted ACLU promoting censorship and forcing schools to be speech police, all the while unraveling the moral values of our country.  Words of the news story, not mine.  The ACLU is trampling the First Amendment.  The Texas Attorney General said that, not me.

But it's true, is it not?

To remind everyone why I raise this issue, it is because the American Library Association keeps using the shibboleth that schools should not be help hostage to a single parent, yet that's what the ACLU does again and again.  The ACLU is the ALA's comrade-in-arms.  Consider, e.g., US v. ALA et al. (the "et al." includes the ACLU), where both worked together to stop the "Children's Internet Protection Act."  They both lost.  Children won.

Indeed, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom [OIF] was created by an ACLU state leader, and it is the OIF that, by itself, made keeping inappropriate material from children tantamount to a crime.  It is the OIF that calls anyone who complains about any material "censors."  Coincidence?


See also:


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