Quote of the day
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Monday, August 18, 2008
We have official word that Kit McCormick has accepted a position at Garfield High School.
Congrats Garfield and Kit!
And curses upon Randy Taylor and the SVSD!
As if the education in the valley was not in enough trouble, now you have pushed away another great teacher!
It's high time for some NEW leadership at Mount Si!
Our best wishes to Kit in her new adventures. I'm sure she'll run into far more open minds at Garfield than our backwards little community here!
I hope you religous zealots are happy!
If only ignorance was painful!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
From the Snoqualmie Valley Record
More than 100 Valley families choose to send their children to public schools outside the Snoqualmie Valley School District.
This fall, Snoqualmie Valley School District board director Kathryn Lerner's family will be among them.
Lerner's daughter, who graduated from Chief Kanim Middle School in June, will enter Mercer Island High School this fall.
Lerner said her family's decision was not an easy one to make, but was based on programming options. Her daughter plans to participate in marching band and study Mandarin Chinese, and neither program is available at Mount Si High School.
Lerner said that while the district needs improvement in budgeting, facility planning and long-range planning, her family's decision was based solely on her daughter's needs.
Read the story here
Friday, July 25, 2008
The SnoValley Star reports that fees will be rising this fall at Mount Si.
July 24, 2008
By Laura Geggel
Mount Si High School plans to increase its student activity fees to keep up with the rising price of fuel. The fees, which are currently $75 per sport, would increase to $100 if the school board approves them before the beginning of the fall sports season.
If approved, there would be a cap on how much each student would have to pay. Students participating in more than one sport would not have to pay more than $150 per year, while families with multiple children playing school sports would not have to pay more than $225 per year.
Waivers for free or reduced fees can be obtained from the school.
Mount Si was one of the last high schools in the area to require an activity fee for extracurricular athletics. Greg Hart, associate principal and athletic director at Mount Si High School, said he and the school board were initially hesitant to implement fees for fear of a drop in athletic participation.
Read the entire story
Thursday, July 10, 2008
What happened to CoDE?
Well it's been nearly 3 months now since the DoS at MSHS. We've been watching the CoDE web site since then to see what they were doing to end the 'indoctrination' in our schools. What a big surprise, they have done nothing!
Since the DoS they have updated their web site once and that was to remove their comments about how they having nothing to do with Hutch.
Of course it's only a coincidence that Le Ann Shaw was President of CoDE during this assault on our students, who she claimed "Is not affiliated with Ken Hutcherson" and yet;
Todd Shaw, a member of Hutcherson's church, said he'll be at the protest Friday with a sign that reads "Education Not Indoctrination."
It would seem that their interest in 'indoctrination' is limited to the GSA and the DoS they fought so dilligently against. There seems to be nothing new happening over at the Ministry of Vice and Truth.
In fact, some of their 'Communications' have been removed from their site including the threatening letter they sent to the students of the Mt Si GSA. This letter included veiled threats of "unstable people" turning to "extreme acts of violence" including "school shootings". They close the letter with;
"Please choose to not spread anger this year and do not request the Day of Silence during the school day."
If there was any doubt as to the motives of this group, that doubt is gone. They are nothing more than a band of homophobic reprobates trying to push their personal religous agendas down the throats of our children.
CoDE has done NOTHING to help our schools or our students. Their site claims;
"Mount Si High School and the Snoqualmie Valley School District have recently had their reputation damaged and have been in the national news due to the actions of a small number of teachers."
It is NOT the teachers at Mount Si that have tarnished our reputation, it is these religous zealots who have brought national attention and ridicule to the valley as being percieved as a bunch of back woods nutjobs that hate gays!
Well to the rest of the world, rest assured that rational minds outnumber these simple minded reprobates in the valley by a wide margin.
It is fairly obvious that CoDE and it's members are more interested in compelling our secular education system to embrace the homophobia and other medieval superstitions that they cherish in favor of the system of law we currently have.
Equal Justice and Protection under the law! It works, even for the simple minded bigots who are protected by the same!
Please CoDE, keep your religion where it belongs, in your temples and churches.
Hate has no place in our schools, but you are welcome to embrace your hatred in your churches as the Antioch members do.
Updated to clarify the position Le Ann Shaw held at CoDE.
Monday, July 7, 2008
"Pastor Ken Hutcherson is still pursuing action against the teacher at Mt. Si High School in Snoqualmie, Washington, who interrupted his Martin Luther King Day speech to voice his opposition to Hutcherson's Christian views on marriage and sexuality."
Dr. Potratz did not interrupt the assembly to voice his opinion, he simply booed the blowhard when he was introduced. It was Kit McCormick who asked the question, AFTER his "speech". And for booing the guest, he was reprimanded.
"Teacher George Potratz later compared Hutcherson's support for the biblical condemnation of homosexual behavior with advocacy for slavery."
This is a well established falsehood. What Dr. Potratz said, and I was there is;
"Hutcherson has a right to his views...just as someone who believes in reinstating slavery has a right to theirs."
And went on to say;
"just because someone has the right to these ideas, it does not make them acceptable in a public school"
Dr. Potratz NEVER advocated a return to slavery, that was Hutcherson's own deluded interpretation of the comments.
"She said to me, 'Well, if you were the pastor of a black church, that would have much more impact than being the black pastor over there with a white church, and you're the one that has chosen,' basically, 'to live over there with those people,'" Hutcherson details.
Hutcherson was asked who Jenkins was referring to as "those people?" "White people," he answered.
Now Ms. Jenkins has been libeled in the spirit of Hutch's "Christianity".
Jenkins disputes Hutcherson's account of the conversation. "That's not exactly what I said. What I said was that, from the perspective of the Commission on African American Affairs, when there is an issue that's involving a church congregation and maybe a political work that that church may be doing, that it's a little different kind of role and a little different positioning for us to be able to get involved when the congregation of the church is...a black church or a black denomination," she contends.
UPDATED 7/8/2008 From the PI
"It is not what I said, it is what he heard," Jenkins said.
This seems to be a pattern with Hutch, he has a built in BS translator that makes him hear what he wants to hear, which is basically that he is a victim in all of this.
This blow hard reprobate named Ken Hutcherson has to manufacture events to appease the inner turmoil of his dark and sinister mind.
Looking for the face of evil, look no further. Ken Hutcherson is an evil man!
It's time for legal action to put this buffoon in his place!
Monday, 07 July 2008
Thank you so much for praying about the article in One News Now about the State of Washington's Commission on African American Affairs. It is out and linked below.
Pray that God will use this article. Let's make changes in the State of Washington.
I hear God is going to DIGG this article. Oh yes she is!
Monday, June 30, 2008
Monday, 30 June 2008
I asked you to pray about the situation with the State of Washington Commission on African American Affairs. Thank you - your prayers were answered!
OneNewsNow.com, the widely disseminated online news division of the American Family News Network will be running a very long article on this subject sometime during the coming weekend. Please watch for it and pray that God will be glorified as the truth about the State of Washington is revealed.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Help! Help! I'm being repressed!
You heard right. Our favorite nutjob is still at it!
Apparently the NAACP is controlled by Governor Gregoire and the "White Powers" in Washington.
Get this guy into an asylum before he hurts someone!
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Put on your knee pads and start praying!
This past Sunday I was preaching on Romans 2:11 which says God is no respecter of persons. I was informed last week that this is not true of Governor Christine Gregoire and the State of Washington. There is extreme favoritism in this state.
I was informed by Rosalund Jenkins, head of the Commission on African American Affairs for the State of Washington, that if I was the black pastor of a black church instead of a black pastor of a white church, I would have more clout to say I was discriminated against at Mt. Si High School at the Martin Luther King Day Assembly.
I was informed that a homosexual is part of the Commission on African American Affairs so I can forget about fighting the issues of racism and homosexuality.
I was informed that even though she is head of the Commission on African American Affairs for the state of Washington she does not work for black people. She works for Governor Chris Gregoire because hers is not an elected position, she is a gubernatorial appointee.
I was informed that if I continue to go down the road of racism and homosexuality, I’m fighting against the white power structure of the State of Washington and I don’t have a chance of winning.
As I was talking to her, it dawned on me that the NAACP must be controlled and owned by the white power structure of the State of Washington as well.
I filed a grievance with the NAACP and now I know why James Bible, President of the local chapter doesn’t return my phone calls. The only member of the NAACP who has any intestinal fortitude is Rev. Phyllis Beaumonte. She has constantly said that they are supposed to investigate any complaint brought by a member, yet the President has put this off week after week after week.
Pray for Rev. Beaumonte. She is trying to get the NAACP to do the right thing.
Continue to pray for me as I stand on Biblical Truth and the Word. I was informed by the head of the Commission on African American Affairs for the State of Washington that Gov. Gregoire has established a special place for homosexuals in her administration and the State of Washington.
This will be an uphill battle but I am willing to fight trusting in God until we attain victory.
"This past Sunday I was preaching on Romans 2:11 which says God is no respecter of persons."
Romans 2:11 For there is no partiality with God.
How does "no respecter of persons" translate from an impartial God?
Does he have any idea what he's preaching or does he just make this crap up as he goes along?
Main Entry: de·lu·sion
Pronunciation: \di-ˈlü-zhən, dē-\
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin delusion-, delusio, from deludere
Date: 15th century
1: the act of deluding : the state of being deluded
2 a: something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated b: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs
— de·lu·sion·al \-ˈlüzh-nəl, -ˈlü-zhə-nəl\ adjective
— de·lu·sion·ary \-zhə-ˌner-ē\ adjective
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Bomb was just a phone
From the Snoqualmie Valley Star By Laura Geggel
A handmade telephone intended as a friendly gift caused a bomb scare at Mount Si High School June 16.
Mount Si High School evacuated its students to the football stadium at about 11:10 a.m. after the main office opened a suspicious looking package - really an upside down telephone - addressed to a student.
According to Snoqualmie Police Public Information Officer Rebecca Munson, the school’s front office received the package June 13, but the student was absent. On Monday, the main office called the student to the office, where she informed them she was not expecting a package.
They opened the package upside-down and, when they noticed wires, called the police and evacuated the school to the neighboring stadium.
“We had an officer respond and he saw wires, so he called a bomb squad,” Munson said.
Read the whole story
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Today, Tuesday, June 17, school will resume at the regularly scheduled time. Students will begin their day by reporting to their 4th period class - to retrieve any materials left yesterday - then continue with their previously-planned finals schedule.
On Monday, June 16, Mount Si High School students were evacuated to the stadium around 11:35am as a precaution and remained outside until school was dismissed or a parent picked them up. This was in response to a suspicious looking package that was delivered to the school's office. A police bomb squad confirmed that the package was a very well-built hoax device. The building was re-opened around 4:00 pm Monday.
For those concerned about finals, Principal Randy Taylor confirmed that the incident will be taken into consideration with the administration of their exams today.
If you have any information that could help with the investigation of this crime, please contact the City of Snoqualmie Police department at 425-888-3333
Monday, June 9, 2008
In looking for commencement addresses to share, I thought what better speaker than an author who was part of many of your lives throughout your school life.
Congrats Class of 2008!
President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates.
The first thing I would like to say is ‘thank you.’ Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I’ve experienced at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and fool myself into believing I am at the world’s best-educated Harry Potter convention.
Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can’t remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.
You see? If all you remember in years to come is the ‘gay wizard’ joke, I’ve still come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step towards personal improvement.
Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that has expired between that day and this.
I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.
These might seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.
Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.
I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension.
They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’ car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.
I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.
I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.
What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.
At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.
I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.
However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.
Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.
Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.
Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.
The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.
Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.
You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry Potter, though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books. This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs. Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London.
There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.
Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to think independently of their government. Visitors to our office included those who had come to give information, or to try and find out what had happened to those they had been forced to leave behind.
I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.
And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man sitting with her. She had just given him the news that in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country’s regime, his mother had been seized and executed.
Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone.
Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard and read.
And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before.
Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.
Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s minds, imagine themselves into other people’s places.
Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.
And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.
I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces can lead to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.
What is more, those who choose not to empathise may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.
One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.
That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.
But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.
If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I’ve used their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.
So today, I can wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.I wish you all very good lives.
Thank you very much.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
From the Friends of GSA;
This past Friday, May 23rd, the annual Washington State Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Banquet and Recognition Ceremony was held at the Lakeside School. The event is co-sponsored by the Washington Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Speakers and presenters included State Senator Ed Murray, City Council member Sally Clark, WA State Human Rights Commissioner Rev. Dr. Jerry Hebert and State Representative Jamie Pederson, as well as many other community leaders. Senator Patty Murray and Mayor Greg Nickels also wrote letters of support and appreciation.
This was a significant and high profile event, and the efforts and struggles of our local Mt Si High School GSA did not go unnoticed. Of the eight awards presented for the Washington GSA’s, they took home the following awards:
Most Inspirational GSA Member: Jacqueline Ferland
Advisor of the Year: Eric Goldhammer
GSA of the Year: Mount Si High School
Rob Goldsworthy Outstanding Educator of the Year: Kit McCormick
Washington state has approximately 175 GSAs. Please join us in congratulating our local chapter in the recognition of their efforts.
Friends of GSA
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
On Thursday, May 29 during a morning assembly, we will present the second year in a series called Rachel's Challenge. Rachel Scott was the first student killed in the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999. Her father started a non-religious, non political and non-profit organization with the goal of inspiring chain reactions of kindness and compassion that are reflected in 5 challenges:
1. Eliminate prejudice by looking for the best in others.
2. Dare to Dream, write down goals and keep a journal.
3. Choose positive influences.
4. Kind words and acts of kindness have a huge impact.
5. Start a chain reaction of kindness with friends and family.
These 5 challenges are the core values of the presentation and will be emphasized again in this year's presentation. The title of this year's program is Rachel's Legacy. Through a series of video clips and messages from the speaker, students will learn about Rachel's life and her message of compassion and respect for others. This assembly will be our program for Day of Respect. You may recall from last year that an evening presentation for parents is included. This format is being followed again this year. The program will begin at 7:00 pm in a yet to be determined location. Please follow the signage that evening. We hope to see you there for this insightful and inspiring evening.
More information regarding the program can be found at www.rachelschallenge.com
One can dream.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Slain man's mother denounces principal who resigned in protest of gay-straight alliance.
Sean's Last Wish today denounced the resignation announcement of Irmo High School Principal Eddie Walker because of his opposition to the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance. The organization also criticized his explanation for opposing GSA's.
"Principal Walker's problematic statement, 'I feel the formation of a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at Irmo High School implies that students joining the club will have chosen to or will choose to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or members of both sexes,' is completely ludicrous and unfounded," said Sean's Last Wish Founder, Elke Kennedy, whose son Sean (pictured) was murdered last year in Greenville in an anti-gay hate-crime. "GSA's give students who are gay bi and straight, a safe place to support each other, talk about issues and work to end homophobia. Many GSAs function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity."
Read the story
Group demands immediate termination of Irmo Principal
IRMO, SC (WIS) - Irmo High School Principal Eddie Walker's has announced he'll resign effective June 2009 over the creation of a Gay/Straight Alliance club at the school.
But for one group, June 2009 isn't soon enough.
South Carolina Equality is demanding that either Walker's resignation be effective immediately, or he be terminated.
"This Principal has emphatically and publicly stated that he does not support a significant portion of his student body. He has created an atmosphere where intolerance is considered a principled stand," says SCE Executive Director C. Ray Drew.
The group says research shows 80% of gay students do not know a single supportive adult at their school, 38% of gay students face hostility and violence, and 18% of gay students experience physical assault.
"Eddie Walker has created a liability problem for the school. If a gay student is harmed, the District could be held accountable for creating a hostile school environment," says Drew. "Every day that this Principal remains at Irmo High, students will continue to live in fear for their safety. These unsafe and dangerous conditions for gay students are intolerable. "
Read the story
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Principal Eddie Walker
IRMO, SC (WIS) - The principal of Irmo High School will announce his resignation Wednesday after being asked to allow the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance club at the school.
Principal Eddie Walker confirmed to WIS News 10 he intends to announce his resignation over the intercom Wednesday morning. The resignation won't take effect until June, 2009 - the end of the 2008-2009 school year.
"Allowing the formation of this club on our campus conflicts with my professional beliefs and religious convictions. "
Read the story
Good riddance! Who needs homophobes teaching our kids?
And what a great example he sets in respecting diversity!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
May 14, 2008
From The Snoqualmie Valley Star
By Laura Geggel
At a May 8 school board meeting, the Rev. Ken Hutcherson vowed to continue to protest the Day of Silence in coming years if the Mount Si High School Gay Straight Alliance holds it during school hours.
In fact, Hutcherson, who led about 100 protestors during the annual event late last month, vowed an even larger presence in the future.
“As parents, next year, if you let this happen when school is happening, I’m going to have to organize well enough there will be no kids coming to school,” he said at the meeting.
District administrators, who are still discussing the future of the day at Mount Si, had no formal response to Hutcherson’s statement.
“I can’t control what Dr. Hutcherson does,” said Principal Randy Taylor. “We’re still assessing this year’s Day of Silence and looking to see how successful it was on campus. I’m a little disappointed with the level of absenteeism, but some of that could have been addressed through the concern of parents about adult protestors being near the school.”
In the same public statement at the May 8 school board meeting, Hutcherson said he took offense to a statement made at the Feb. 7 school board meeting by Potratz, an American literature and film studies teacher at the high school.
At the February meeting, Potratz said he was “the one, sole person who booed Mr. Hutcherson” at the Martin Luther King Day Assembly.
Three weeks after the assembly, Potratz said the school disciplined him with a letter of reprimand in his personnel file.
In an interview, Potratz said he “thought that the choice of the leading opponent of equal rights for homosexuals in Washington state was the most inappropriate possible choice for a speaker for the day which celebrates equality in our country.”
In his February statement, Potratz said he would try to combat prejudice and “stop those who, because of hate or ignorance, would hurt anyone or violate their civil rights.” He then went on to say that, as he understood it, Hutcherson and his supporters wanted to reverse the 2006 state Anderson-Murray Law, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“They have their right to advocate that,” Potratz said in his statement. “People at our school have the right to advocate reinstituting slavery if they want. But our school system does not regard discrimination against homosexuals as an equally valid opinion with the opinion that everyone has equal rights under the law.”
Hutcherson said he found the statement akin to wanting to reinstate slavery. He said he has notified the Washington State Department and the NAACP. Neither organization could be reached to confirm the complaints at time of deadline.
Hutcherson said he wanted Potratz and McCormick removed from the classroom.
“You need to do something about teachers you have in your rooms with my daughter and students passing by them every day knowing that you made a comment about reinstating slavery,” Hutcherson said.
Taylor said the school had disciplined Potratz.
Read the complete story
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Ken Hutcherson with Scott Lively who claims that the Nazi Party, World War II and the Holocaust were the products of a vast gay conspiracy, and Latvian megachurch pastor Alexey Ledyaev who claims that “Homosexuality is a … dangerous and contagious disease."
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Please keep praying for a great turnout for this Sunday's services for two reasons:
1.) It's Mother's Day! We want to honor all of our mothers.
2.) This Sunday will be the first of a two part series on why homosexuality is still a sin.Pray that many lives will be changed.
"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts."
-Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America
"The doom of Ham has been branded on the form and features of his African descendants. The hand of fate has united his color and destiny. Man cannot separate what God hath joined."
-United States Senator James Henry Hammond.
"There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral."
-Rev. Alexander Campbell
"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example."
-Rev. R. Furman, D.D., Baptist, of South Carolina
"Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly."
1 Timothy 6:1-3
"Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;"
The quotation by Jefferson Davis, listed above, reflected the beliefs of many Americans in the 19th century. Slavery was seen as having been "sanctioned in the Bible." They argued that:
-Biblical passages recognized, controlled, and regulated the practice.
-The Bible permitted owners to beat their slaves severely, even to the point of killing them. However, as long as the slave lingered longer than 24 hours before dying of the abuse, the owner was not regarded as having committed a crime, because after all -- the slave was his property.
-Paul had every opportunity to write in one of his Epistles that human slavery -- the owning of one person as a piece of property by another -- is profoundly evil. His letter to Philemon would have been an ideal opportunity to vilify slavery. But he wrote not one word of criticism.
-Jesus could have condemned the practice. He might have done so. But there is no record of him having said anything negative about the institution.
Hutch, using the bible to justify evil today is no different than it was yesterday!
The same books of the Bible you justify your disgust of homosexuals with are the same books that kept your ancestors enslaved! Why not embrace it all brother?
Why must you preach evil, and on Mothers day no less?
You should be ashamed!
May God have mercy on your dark and twisted soul.
These thoughts are for you Hutch...
"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
"You know that you have created God in your image when God hates the same people that you do."
-Fr. John Weston
Friday, May 2, 2008
I want to share one very early report of efforts on the Day of Silence from Jordyne Krumroy, a student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Jordyne was an early supporter of the Golden Rule Pledge and as you will see, used it as a springboard to mobilize Christian groups on her campus for outreach. Here is her report.
Yesterday was the Day of Silence. A national event where students on their campuses are silent for the entire day to bring awareness to the silencing of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) students. This community has been daily silenced by the name-calling, bullying, and harassment simply because of their sexuality. Many Christians are confused about how to respond to this day because they do not agree with homosexuality, but they do agree that hatred based on it is not acceptable.
This year I decided to get involved. I went to Campus Crusade for Christ as well as Intervarsity Fellowship to present the idea of participating. They both said they wanted to participate but I was absolutely astonished when Campus Crusade said that not only did they want to support it as individuals, but as a ministry. When I heard this, my heart was pounding- it was a prayer come true.
I can’t give you a count of how many students from the ministries actually participated. It might have been one, or many. But to me, it was their sincere desire to do something that really hit me hard. I have long been frustrated with the Christian community’s response to the GLBT group. When Crusade called me, a little piece of anger towards the church was cast away.
Students at our school chose to participate by duct taping their mouths shut in complete silence, and when people asked why, handing them a slip of paper that explained. While I was more than fine with doing this, I wanted to do more. I wanted to make it clear that not only do I love them, but Christ does also. So I made my own slips, not to preach, but to break down the walls between the Christian and LGBT communities. The slips I made said this:
“Today I am pledging to be silent to bring attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment experienced by LGBT students.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Luke 6:31
As a follower of Christ, I believe that all people are created in the image of God and therefore deserve love and respect.”
Read the entire story
Behold, I say unto you, there are true christians among us.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Hutch's bodyguard looks on as former students
and community members disrupt their proselytizing.
Day of Silence speaks volumes
By MARGO HOFFMAN The Mirror
Apr 30 2008
Sometimes silence speaks quite loudly.
Students at Federal Way High School, as well as more than 200 high schools throughout the state, participated in the National Day of Silence event on April 25.
Both homosexual and heterosexual students banded together to raise awareness of the bullying and harassment that gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual students often face. They made their statement by going all day without speaking, instead signing their names to a list of supporters and passing out cards describing their cause.
At lunchtime on Friday, 84 students had already signed up as supporters. More students continued to sign up throughout the day.
“It’s a great demonstration,” said Paul Cantu, a senior at Federal Way and the ASB president. “Everybody’s very supportive.”
Gay and lesbian students at Federal Way are sometimes subject to derogatory language, Cantu said.
“As with anything, there’s going to be a little bit of bullying for people that are different,” he said.
Cantu said he suspects that in several years, people will look back in awe and disgust over the discrimination and harassment that gays and lesbians often face.
Extra participation at Federal Way’s Day of Silence this year was fueled partly because of news of anti-gay protests at a similar event at Snoqualmie Valley’s Mount Si High School, Cantu said. Students at Federal Way were inspired to come forward in support of their school’s diversity.
Read the entire story
...Awesome! Mount Si, setting the standard!
In a related story from World Nuts Daily, they are reporting fabrications worthy of CoDE and Hutch himself!
"Take the Seattle area's Mount Si High School for instance. Out of 1,410 students, nearly half (638) reportedly walked out of school on DOS with a unified voice saying, "No! We're here to learn. We refuse to be subject to radical homosexual indoctrination at school or anywhere else!"
The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, a former pro-football player, current pro-family champion and pastor of Antioch Bible Church, led the charge in defense of God's moral standard at Mount Si. He organized a prayer rally outside the school – which his daughter attends – and was joined by hundreds of parents, children and community members."
Once again, the actual number was 495 out of 1,410. Of those, many were kept home to avoid the protesters (Hutch) not the DoS.
And Hutcherson joined by "HUNDREDS" of parents? There were less than a hundred, as in singular.
These nuts are either delusional or bald faced liars!
Which one of them will earn your comtempt?
That being said. We have received the following press release;
The Tolt Congregational United Church of Christ in Carnation invites the community to a presentation on May 7, 2008, to hear a progressive Christian voice on this topic. Pastor Stephen Haddan, who received his Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Minnesota, will discuss “Who We Are, What We Believe, and How We Use the Bible.” Tolt’s position as a church which welcomes and affirms all people regardless of race, gender, economic status or sexual identity will also be explained.
Church youth leader Cindy Sattler notes that this presentation is especially timely with the recent valley discussions regarding the work of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Mt Si High School. “I’ve noticed that many who oppose the GSA do so by claiming the word “Christian” to describe themselves, as if being Christian explains the foundation upon which a person stakes their case. It alarms me that so many find the words “gay” and “Christian” to be mutually exclusive,” she says.
Tolt Congregational, founded in 1894, belongs to the United Church of Christ, a denomination that dates back to the Mayflower. Eleven signers of the Declaration of Independence were members of UCC predecessor bodies. The UCC was the first mainline church to ordain an African-American (1785), a woman (1853) and an openly gay pastor (1972).
The presentation will begin at 7 PM and a social time with refreshments will follow. The church is located at Hwy 203 and Morrison Street.
Note to readers.
As a non-christian, I'm not in the habit of posting faith based meetings. However, in the spirit of cooperation and goodwill, I'm encouraging those of you of faith to open a meaningful dialog with each other that might foster a broader and unconditional acceptance of our children.
In the words of the UCC ...God Is Still Talking...
And in the words of Stephen Hawkings...
All we have to do, is keep on talking!
Over the past several months there has been alot of outrage coming from our christian and mormon neighbors over the GSA and the DoS event.
Many fundamentalist christians, like Hutch, bring a very narrow and cherry picked set of 'biblical laws' they use to persecute the gay community. Most christians that I know don't seem so hell bent on the validity of the OT. (pun intended)
These christians find greater value in living their lives as Jesus taught, rather than honoring outdated dogma that they find un-christian. These are great folks!
I, as many others, were a bit mystified by the strong reaction of our mormon neighbors so we set out to learn a bit more about mormanism and where their doctrine intersects with their christian counterparts. What we found was interesting to say the least.
Mormon doctrine is quite different from the mainstream christian perspective. The doctrine seems a bit more supernatural than even the events in the bible, and definitely diverges from the basic christian beliefs. In fact, many of the assertions would be considered heretical by the catholic church.
In trying to find a short documentary on the subject, we came across an animated feature that was supposedly banned by the mormon church. The claims made in the video were actually checked against published mormon doctrine and seem accurate.
Warning, some of these ideas might shock you!
Now this is not an attack on mormons, but it's good to know where you folks are coming from.
What is unclear is the value the Bible holds within the Mormon church. Is the OT considered the word of God?
I'd love to hear the mormon perspective here. Are the claims in this video accurate? Is it true that mormons strive to be gods? Is it really a belief that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers? And the whole business with the black folks, what's up with that? When I think about it, I can't say that I have ever met a black or asian mormon, do they exist?
I think most of us who were raised as christians have no clue about the mormon faith. To many of us it sounds a bit like scientology.
Perhaps a greater understanding could lead to a more open dialog about the diversity of faiths within our school and community. In the end, we are all equally human and no one can deny that, the rest is just superfluous!
A local student, claiming to be Mormon sent this link. It is interesting.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Praise for the Day of Silence outcome!
Whether they blame me or credit me, the fact of the matter is over 600 students, almost half the student body at Mt. Si were kept home by their parents on the Day of Silence. The school officials must realize they have some very unhappy parents.
Last night I met with the NAACP. Please pray for wisdom for them as they discuss what their move will be in response to the Mt. Si MLK Day debacle.
Please pray for me as I travel to Southern California today and as I return home on Saturday.
Further deception from Hutch. The attendence at Mount Si was well reported by multiple news sources. He claims "over 600 students, almost half the student body", chose not to attend.
Actually 495 out of 1410 did not attend. That's 35%
So 65% of the students and their parents are open minded! That's a good thing.
Now I don't expect Hutch to understand math, after all math is one of those evil tools that science uses to kill God.
And does he really think that the NAACP is going to get on his crazy train?
Good luck with that Kenny!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Having suffered their inevitable defeat on their mission from God against the abhorrent lifestyle of our gay students and community, what's coming next from Hutch and his disciples at CoDE?
We took a peek at the CoDE web site to see if we can discern the next attack from this group.
So just what are the CoDE parents concerned about?
A parent says:
"I am especially concerned about the prevalence of witchcraft and anti Christian attitudes and actions at MSHS."
A parent says:
"SVSD is allowing the agendas of certain interest groups have a foothold in Snoqualmie Valley schools. Those agendas are in direct conflict with traditional family values and what my families believes to be morally right."
A community member says:
"Unequal representation. The GSA has taken over the school and all efforts to create a bible study group has been met with extreme resistence.(sp)"
A parent says:
"I believe that I, as a parent, should be the first and foremost teacher of our child, especially in the area of life's values. It disturbs me that teachers, who have so much influence in our children's lives, can undermine what we teach at home in areas that have nothing to do with basic education."
It sounds like resolving their religious beliefs and the curriculum in public schools is presenting a challenge to these parents. Surely if they believe in the Old Testament, a conflict with evolution is not far off.
Can we expect CoDE to assault our science programs because they conflict with their fundamental beliefs? Is an attempt at introducing “Intelligent Design” coming our way next?
The assault on science and reason has been underway for years now by the religious right. If CoDE gets this flustered by gay kids, what do they have in store for science?
In case any of you have forgotten, there is a difference between biblical science and real science. Here is a great video that clarifies the differences and contributions both have made to society.
We'll be ready!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Congrats to the GSA and Students of Mount Si that made the DoS a great day despite the antics of the adults outside!
Great thanks to the community for showing their support!
Good story on the event.
Jaqueline Ferland, president of the GSA, said there was definitely a range of opinions, and T-shirts with everything from Bible quotes to her own, which said on the back, "Listen."
"We've started," she said. "There's diversity at this school and there's now a recognition of that."
You Kids Rock!
SNOQUALMIE, Wash., April 25, 2008 -- A press conference will be held at the Snoqualmie Library (7824 Center Blvd SE, Snoqualmie, WA) on Friday, April 25, at 11 a.m. to address misconceptions being perpetuated regarding the annual Day of Silence, which seeks to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.
Community members, some of whom plan to show solidarity with participating students outside the school before school starts, will join a panel of local Snoqualmie Valley residents, including clergy, parents, and current and former high school students, and representatives from the Washington State chapter of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
The panelists include:
Stephen Hadden is the pastor of Tolt United Church of Christ. His church purchased a full-page advertisement in this week's Snoqualmie Valley Record in support of the Day of Silence and the Mt. Si High School Gay-Straight Alliance. Nearly half of high-school-age youth at his church go to Mt Si High School.
Jane Storrs is a nurse and mother of three teenage children. Her daughter attends Mt. Si High School. She will talk about how the Day of Silence will be a benefit to the students of Mt. Si High School. Neil Lequia, a former Mt. Si High School student who experienced anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment at the hands of his peers, will share his experiences and discuss why the Day of Silence is important.
GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students, is the official organizational sponsor for the event. A record 7,000 schools nationwide and 223 in Washington are expected to participate.
"The Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America's schools," said Robert Raketty, executive director of GLSEN Washington State. "The sad truth remains that anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling continues to be the rule - not the exception - in Washington State schools."
This year's event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., who was shot and killed in school on Feb. 12 because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.
"For the majority of students, the Day of Silence is a chance to see things from another's perspective and develop tolerance and empathy,"Storrs explains. "For youth struggling to fit in, the Day of Silence offers a chance to be acknowledged by their peers. For everyone, the Day of Silence opens doors to reflection about bullying, tolerance, and compassion.
"As a nurse I've seen kids with an alternate sexual orientation or gender identity suffer isolation, depression, and suicide. Spending a day in silence allows students a safe place to consider a different perspective and the challenges faced by a minority group. In a world often lacking compassion this might be a rare opportunity for our high school students to develop important character traits. It also gives them practice honoring diversity."
Four out of five LGBT students are harassed every year because of their sexual orientation, according to GLSEN's 2005 National School Climate Survey. Additionally, 64% of students said they feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 40% because of their gender expression.
About GLSEN Washington State
GLSEN Washington State is a chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the nation's leading education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information, call 206-330-2099 or visit www.glsenwa.org.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Pastor Ken Hutcherson, and his 'prayer warriors', will actually be PROTESTING the DoS outside of MSHS on Friday!
Do these misguided individuals have nothing better to do with their time than harass our children?
Here's hoping the darkness can be lifted from these narrow minds.
From the Seattle Times article;
Todd Shaw, a member of Hutcherson's church, said he'll be at the protest Friday with a sign that reads "Education Not Indoctrination."
Could not be related to LeAnn Shaw, President of CoDE?
Click Schrammie to get his take on this.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
From the CoDE web site;
An officer of a student club recorded his club's after-school, public meeting, and a teacher took the machine and erased the recording. (4/2/08)
RCW 9.73.030 clearly states that is is unlawful to record a conversation, public or private, without consent of all parties.
We understand the student in question is the child of a CoDE member.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
In a joint statement, 27 LGBT activist groups, including Lambda Legal, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLSEN, and The Transgender Law Center, now urges the DA to try McInerney in juvenile court:
"We are saddened and outraged by the murder of junior high school student Lawrence King. At the same time, we call on prosecutors not to compound this tragedy with another wrong, we call on them to treat the suspect as a juvenile, not as an adult.
"The facts in this matter seem clear: one boy killed another in a climate of intolerance and fear about sexual orientation and gender expression. The alleged perpetrator, who turned 14 years old less than three weeks before the shooting, should be held accountable for his actions.
"But we support the principles underlying our juvenile justice system that treat children differently than adults and provide greater hope and opportunity for rehabilitation. California law does not require District Attorneys to prosecute 14 year-olds as adults, even in circumstances such as these, and we oppose them doing so.
Read the entire story
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Dear Mount Si Parents,
Thank you for posting the message from CoDE concerning Snoqualmie Valley School District policy in regards to the upcoming Day of Silence.
This lawyeresque analysis of SVSD policy governing demonstrations must have been written by a CoDE member who either is not a parent of a Mount Si High School student, or if s/he is a parent, then either did not bother to discuss the matter with her/his child or, if such a discussion did occur, completely missed the element of high school culture to which the Day of Silence truly belongs.
The Day of Silence is not a demonstration, but an act of solidarity. If any parallels are to be drawn between the Day of Silence and other school activities, they properly belong among those, for instance, held during Spirit Week and on other special occasions. For those readers unfamiliar with our school’s culture, a brief explanation of Spirit Week will suffice, followed by an example of another type of activity that sometimes takes place at Mount Si.
Each day leading up to the homecoming game in October is filled with activities designed to rally school spirit. Monday, for example, is p.j. day – yep, students and staff alike are encouraged to wear their pajamas to school. Are they required to? No. Are signs about p.j. day posted around school so students can know what’s happening and when? Yes. Everyone knows this is a voluntary activity, the purpose of which is simply to declare your school spirit.
The days following p.j. day are assigned any number of themes by student organizers and the week usually ends with class color day – freshmen wear white, sophomores red, juniors grey and seniors black or camo colors. Is everyone required to wear their colors? Again, no. The choice about participating is left to each individual: you may abstain entirely; participate only in those activities with which you feel comfortable; or go whole-hog and vie to outdo everybody else in an outlandish show of school spirit. And, what is school spirit, but a show of solidarity with past, present and future generations of Mount Si students.
Let’s now take a look at another example of school solidarity from the opposite end of the emotional spectrum.
Two years ago, MSHS student Tess Sollitto drowned in the Snoqualmie River shortly before the start of the school year. Some of her classmates decided to help raise funds for a scholarship in her honor and did so by selling plastic pink wristbands (pink being Tess’s favorite color). Were students and staff required to purchase these wristbands? No, of course not. Those who did, however, did so to contribute monetarily to the scholarship fund, but also – and perhaps more importantly – as a show of caring and support for Tess’s family and friends who had suffered a terribly tragic loss.
Were people who did not purchase and/or wear one of these wristbands regarded by those who did as uncompassionate or heartless? Of course not. The absence of a pink band meant nothing – there was no judgment cast, no ostracism, no ill will. At the same time no one at the school did anything to oppose this solidarity activity. Had a student, for instance, worn a t-shirt ridiculing the pink wristbands or made mean spirited remarks to one of Tess’s friends, few would have had much sympathy if the provocative act elicited harsh words or even a slap.
Solidarity – this is what the Day of Silence is all about – like wearing a red-white-and-blue necktie on the 4th of July or a Mariners cap to Safeco Field. Participation in acts of solidarity are completely voluntary and always welcome; non-participation doesn’t usually register on anybody’s radar screen; and oppositional participation, depending on the degree of hostility, is either ignored or responded to (preferably in a constructive manner).
The oppositional activity of CoDE to the Day of Silence is, simply put, heartless and hostile – heartless toward those gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students who fear being open about who they are, and hostile toward those GLBT students and their friends who simply want to make MSHS a safe and supportive place for each and every student.
I have much faith in the goodness of people, and sincerely hope that CoDE will support the Gay/Straight Alliance and use its influence to help make the Day of Silence at Mount Si on April 25th a day of goodwill between participants and non-participants alike.
9 April 2008
What is this unholy alliance CoDE has made?
If their motives where ever in doubt before, they are clear now.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Here is the latest attempt by CoDE to end the Day Of Silence...
To: Randy Taylor, Beth Castle, Greg Hart, Cindy Wilson, Joel Aune, Rudy Edwards, Caroline Loudenback, Kathryn Lerner, Marci Busby, Kristy Sullivan
In reviewing Snoqualmie Valley School District policies that relate to the Day of Silence, policy #3223: FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY struck us forcefully: Individual students and student organizations may meet in school rooms or auditoriums, or at outdoor locations on school grounds, to there discuss, pass resolutions, and take other lawful action respecting any matter which directly or indirectly concerns or affects them, whether or not it relates to school.
Such activities shall not be permitted to interfere with the normal operation of the school. Peaceful demonstrations are permissible, though they are to be held in designated places where they will present no hazards to persons or property and at designated times that will not disrupt classes or other school activities.
The Day of Silence (DOS) is not an “assembly” in any sense of the word – there is no coherent meeting of students for the purpose of being silent or any other reason. The DOS is clearly a “demonstration” and is subject to the restrictions of the second paragraph. Please note that the policy states that all demonstrations must have a designated place and time in order to prevent hazards and disruptions. The policy does not define certain types of demonstrations that are free of these restrictions. The policy does not exempt certain demonstrations that are somehow “deemed” to be non-hazardous or non-disruptive based on expectations or past experience. If there is any question about whether the DOS is a “demonstration,” consider the following:
1) The definition of “demonstration” is “group display of opinion: a public show as a group for or against an issue, cause, or person.” (Encarta World English Dictionary, 2007.)
2) The DOS is a coordinated action in which more than two hundred students make the same statement about the same controversial issue over the same period of time in the same way. A demonstration does not require picket lines, placards, or chanted slogans. Demonstrations can involve holding a candle in the dark, a group standing in one place, or being silent and wearing an armband.
3) The national organizers of the DOS describe it as “an action” and “a movement” whose purpose is “to protest.” Consider the following from www.dayofsilence.org (emphasis added): What is the Day of Silence? Founded in 1996 by students at the University of Virginia, and currently officially sponsored in K-12 schools by GLSEN, the Day of Silence is the largest student-led action to protest the bullying and harassment of LGBT people and their allies ever. (Day of Silence Organizing Manual, page 2, http://www.dayofsilence.org/downloads/Manual%20Draft%20Final.pdf)
Students will hand out "Speaking Cards" which say: - "Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies…" (About Day of Silence web page, http://www.dayofsilence.org/content/getinformation.html)
We cannot see any interpretation of district policy that would allow the DOS demonstration to occupy the entire school grounds for an entire school day. The Coalition to Defend Education has repeatedly suggested that the DOS should take place as a rally or gathering before or after school, which would allow the students their First Amendment right of free expression while conforming to the spirit and letter of this policy.
If the district continues to allow the DOS demonstration, it must allow any school-day demonstration, such as a Day of Prayer, Global Warming Awareness Day, or Young Republicans for McCain. For the last two years, activities around the DOS have demonstrably violated the school’s “zero tolerance” policy against bullying and have arguably disrupted classes. To be fair and consistent, all future demonstrations must be accorded the same level of tolerance for bullying and disruption around those events. We expect Mount Si High School to conform to all SVSD policies, including #3223: FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY.
We strongly believe that the Mount Si High School administration must
1) explain how previous Days of Silence were allowed to break district policy and
2) make a prompt and clear statement about the upcoming Day of Silence that upholds all district policies.
We request a prompt decision with respect to the appropriateness of the DOS because the scheduled day for this demonstration is quickly approaching. This would also be a courtesy to the Gay/Straight Alliance club, so that they can redirect their planning efforts to organize their protest so that it fully complies with all SVSD policies. We request a response in writing. Thank you for your consideration.
Coalition to Defend Education
When will these religious zealots figure out that the courts have already decided this issue. The district knows that if they cancel the DoS they will face litigation and will lose.
Keep your religion where it belongs, IN YOUR HOME!
We encourage all of you reasonable individuals to contact the District and the MSHS administration to remind them of their legal obligations.
And you folks at CoDE, if you don't like the laws that protect the civil rights of individuals in our secular democracy, we encourage you to seek a theocracy that is more to your liking!
Coercion will get you nowhere, haven't you figured that out yet?
"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."
~ Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82
CoDE sent an “open letter” warning GSA members that they should cancel their plans to participate in the nationally recognized Day of Silence or else face “more persecution of gay students” (emphasis in original) based on what they claimed would be a building “resentment” that would “spill out in ugly ways,” where “problems experienced will occur again.” Of great alarm, this letter referenced “unstable people [who] sometimes turn their frustration to extreme acts of violence,” including “[s]chool shootings.”
Perhaps they should have their attorneys review the following;
RCW 9A.36.080 Malicious harassment--Definition and criminal penalty.
(1) A person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap:
Causes physical injury to the victim or another person;
Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or
Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property. The fear must be a fear that a reasonable person would have under all the circumstances.For purposes of this section, a "reasonable person" is a reasonable person who is a member of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, or who has the same mental, physical, or sensory handicap as the victim. Words alone do not constitute malicious harassment unless the context or circumstances surrounding the words indicate the words are a threat.
"The notion that an outside group of adults may make direct appeals to students to refrain from participating in school activities is deeply distressing for these students, many of whom feel targeted and intimidated by this effort. Moreover, the letter makes plain that CoDE misunderstands the nature and purpose of the Day of Silence, and shows why that and similar activities are essential for LGBT students and their supporters at Mount Si. These students selected the Day of Silence activity precisely because it is educational, calm and non-confrontational. It is a low-key way for them to help their fellow students understand that they exist within the school community, though many of them are invisible much of the time. By its very nature, this silent activity avoids confrontation. And, as the CoDE letter acknowledges, only a small percentage of the student body participates. Yet, even with limited participation, this educational exercise encourages the non-participants to recognize errors in their assumptions about others’ identities and/or attitudes about LGBT people.Because members of the GSA now feel targeted and pressured not to engage in the educational activities of their school club, we call on each of you to make clear the school administration’s commitment to allowing students to participate in their club and other free speech activities, free from outside adult warnings of dire consequences or coercion."