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Topic: wwwaaaaayyyyy OT- but had to gt this off my chest

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Subject: wwwaaaaayyyyy OT- but had to gt this off my chest
Date Posted: 8/2/2007 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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I know this has little to do with this forum, but I just had to "share" what I found yesterday to  group that I know won't flame me...

I was trying to find out some info on how to register my son for Kindergaten in our new school disrict. I downloaed their elementary shool handbook and found this little bit:

“Release Time Program

            For one hour every week, fourth and fifth grade students may participate in the Religious Release Program sponsored by the Warwick Association of Churches.  Those children who do not choose to enroll in the Religious Release Program may select one of two alternatives taught in their school. 

            Those children who do not attend Religious Release classes may be involved in character building, remediation or enrichment.” (emphasis mine). 

 

I looked to find further info and couldn't. I did find some teacher webpages that listed the times their classes had the release time. 1) it is religion classes IN THE SCHOOL, DURING THE SCHOOL DAY and 2) while in the handbook it states that there is other enrichment provided, not one single teacher had that on their webpage..... so is there really added enrichment for those not attending?

 

I have some very very very serious issues with this. One being that 4th grade is the height of peer pressure.  How will a child not attending be made to feel?  Having taught in a public middle school I know that the teacher will not necessarily be non-pressuring either. (I have witnessed students being harrassed and sent to the principals office for standing up for their religious beliefs that counter the teacher's; the teachers were the harrassers BTW). Also, the churches that are part of this group are very conservative evangelical.  I've already had an issue with one church's vacation bible school.  I thought it'd be pretty harmless to let A attend with a friend.  He came back telling me all about how people beat Jesus and described the nailing.... um my son is FOUR and was being told violent violent half truths!  Anywho, to make this somewhat relevant, not one single church involved is open and affirming and some have taken very public anti-gay stances (one preacher blogged about worthless college classes and included some Gay & Lesbian Lit classes in that list because they were "propagating the gay agenda among our college attending Americans").

 

This with some other things I've heard (a principal that refuses to see a parent unless they submit a request in a written letter a month or so in avance, and a counselor refusing to help a neglected child) make me REAL leery about sending my son to school there.  Am I totally out of my mind?  Just over-reacting like DH says? 

 

Thanks for letting me come in a vent for a bit :)

 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 8/2/2007 5:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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Is there another school where you can send your child?  I agree with you - I would be leery of this school also, after reading the information you were given about the Religious Release Program. 

 

Date Posted: 8/2/2007 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,705
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OMG.....this is a public school?!?  I can't believe this.

Date Posted: 8/2/2007 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
Posts: 5,499
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Are you sure you don't live in the south?! 

Just kidding, but it sounds a lot like the public schools at our last base in Georgia.  Scary, scary stuff.  We heard many, many horror stories from friends whose children were not Baptist (sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone, but they were the worst offenders there) that were tormented by the teachers about how they were going to hell if they weren't "saved."  Mind you, I'm Christian, but I find this totally offensive!!!  One of my biggest pet peeves is that many so-called "Christians" fail to act as Christ did.....he loved EVERYONE!  Argh!  Yet another reason that I'm happy that we homeschool. 

I would certainly be looking into other school options, if they're available.  If not, maybe start a grassroots movement to get this banned.  Separation of church and state, and all that. 

Date Posted: 8/2/2007 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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I'm not surprised about the Baptists.  I was raised amongst them - I've seen it all.  It's what helped turn me into an agnostic.

 

 



Last Edited on: 8/2/07 11:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2007 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 2,983
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I remember kids were able to leave school early to attend catechism classes, but certainly it was never done in the public school.

Just how do they handle this situation for non-christian kids (assuming that the classes are christian based)? If it were a religious comparison class where ALL religions were discussed (not taught) I would not have too much issue. But if it is strictly a public school version of catechism classes I would be kicking up a dust storm.

Date Posted: 8/3/2007 10:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 26
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I think I would be leery about having a child attending this school, also.  I'd want to know a whole lot more about what the Religious Release Program was teaching, and who was doing the teaching.  A religious comparison class would be one thing.  But even that seems a bit much for elementary school. 

You said the Religious Release Program was for 4th and 5th graders.  That makes me wonder if there is some sort of lead-in program taught in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.  It also makes me wonder just what this school district is teaching in their science classes. 

Yes, I think you're right to be questioning this. 

Date Posted: 8/3/2007 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2005
Posts: 1,023
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I don't think you're overreacting.  Do get all your facts in line though.  I'd be very cautious about sending a child to this school - I mean if you wanted your child to learn about religion, wouldn't you send them to a private school or church?  It sounds like the school may be blurring the separation lines just a wee bit much - which is why I would research what exactly is going on - like a personal visit to the school office for more info might be called for, document everything too.

Date Posted: 8/3/2007 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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Thanks guys!

I was worried DH would think I was over-reacting, but he felt the same way.  I did contact Americans United (for seperation of church and state) to see about the legality of it.  I'm sure the INTENTIONS are fairly innocent. This is the bible-belt of the North, so non conservative christians are in a small minority. 

I do wish there was another alternative for us,  it's a policy in the whole district, and the only non-christian private schools are quite a drive (not to mention costly with no scholarships).

I know we've got years before son is in 4th grade, but I'm still uneasy.  I'm putting DH in charge of tracking down more info (he's far more tactful than I).  I wish it was as easy as going to the school and asking, BUT the principal there has made it clear that walk-in people are not welcome (especially those that own businesses in town- he's a real donkey's-patooy!)

Anyway, thanks for confirming I'm not crazy for being a little worked up about this. :)

 

Date Posted: 8/3/2007 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
Posts: 5,499
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BUT the principal there has made it clear that walk-in people are not welcome (especially those that own businesses in town- he's a real donkey's-patooy!)

WHAT?!  You're a second class citizen because you own a business in town?!  "Donkey's-patooy" sooooo does not cover it!

Date Posted: 8/3/2007 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Last Edited on: 1/18/09 10:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 8/5/2007 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Public school?  No way should that be included in the curriculum, at all.  I'd go to the school board, and raise hell, and go higher if you have to.

 

Date Posted: 8/21/2007 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2007
Posts: 161
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Having worked for the public schools for many years, I have to say this seems to be totally and completely out of line. I think you should contact the state department of education as I am sure this is illegal. Also, I would recommend that you send your child to another school. JMO but if you can move, I would consider that also. That is not as far out as it seems. We moved to another place due to severe problems with the schools where we lived. If at all possible, consider it. Good Luck!

Date Posted: 8/22/2007 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2005
Posts: 1,023
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Sam - any update yet?  Just curious of course - and I can't believe that your family would be the only one concerned about this in your school district.

Date Posted: 8/22/2007 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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No update.  I'm a little peeved I didn't get any reply from Americans United since this is sooooo what they fight against.

We don't want to be the public face of a fight since a majority of our customers might walk... I wish moving or another school was an option, but it's just not.  Private school too costly, and we just moved to be above our store, so  if we moved again, it would mean we'd have to close the store and find "real" jobs. Which is something we hope to avoid at all costs.  hmmmmm I wonder if I call the school district's curriculum office and asked if they would send me any info.  Until he's actually in the grade they teach it and they do something to him/us, I don't think I can get the ACLU involved.

Anywho, we are considering homeschooling next year... but I do support public education. I just don't think I can put my child into a public school system that sees nothing wrong with this

(and don't get me started on the decade old ACLU fight about the nativity in the town square! hehe)

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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quick update... I heard back from Americans United, and they are going to lok into it. They need me to find the answers to some questions (like what is taught exactly, by whom, where, and how), then they may take legal actions... oh boy did I open a can of worms! hee hee :)



Last Edited on: 8/29/07 5:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/29/2007 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2005
Posts: 1,023
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Go Sam!! (ok that was the activist in me...hehe)  Keep us posted about what happens, better you are looking into it now than when your son actually has to go there & then running into this issue.

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2005
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Good for you, Sam!!!

Date Posted: 8/30/2007 1:36 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 2,983
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Bravo Sam. Never be afraid to make waves. Just ask the local school board here how they shiver at the mention of my name.

Date Posted: 8/30/2007 10:04 AM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2005
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Very nice Charlie!!

Date Posted: 8/30/2007 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,761
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It's always a good thing when the school board knows who you are.  In an opposition type way.  There's just too many people out there who don't care, or don't know, about what's going on in their own school system.  I bet most of the parents didn't even read the info that brought this to your attention, Sam.