Archive for Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Letter to the editor: Students have rights

May 18, 2005

Throughout my life, I've gotten along with people and tried to avoid confrontation.

With the exception of athletics and a couple of instances in my professional career, I haven't been pushed to a point I feel I have to respond, but that changed Thursday. After reading the article in The Mirror regarding the recent character building assemblies by the Seven Project at the junior and senior high schools, I felt the need to respond.

Before I continue, I feel it necessary to voice my stance on God. I'm a Christian, saved by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. I'm not an extremist, leftist, right-winged fanatic, but one who is confident in whom I am in Christ.

I'm sure there are others, but according to the article, school board member Ron Moore and parent Paula Gish felt religious materials should not have been distributed after the assembly. First, this is a breach of the students' First Amendment rights. The First Amendment guarantees a student may pray, evangelize, read Scripture, distribute literature and invite fellow students to participate as long these actions are initiated by the student, are voluntary and not disruptive or coercive. Second, students (not parents or teachers) handed literature out after the assembly for an invitation to the school that evening. I wasn't at the school assemblies, but from discussion with a friend who was, the assembly was nothing but positive and there were no disruptions after literature were distributed.

Ron Moore says he's for good things. This Seven Project was an awesome thing. Students were voluntarily invited back to the school that evening to another assembly. Of the approximate 300 students that chose to come back, 70 made a commitment or rededicated their lives to Jesus Christ. If these 70 students truly meant what they did that evening, you would see more character in their lives than any of the other "100 organizations" can produce.

I urge school board members and teachers to continue to bring quality assemblies into our schools. Please educate yourselves about laws regarding students' rights. It's not the school's job to teach my kids about character, ethics, morals, religion, God, etc. It's my job as a parent. I hope you will find it in your best interest to not take our kids' rights from them.

Todd Janssen,

Tonganoxie.

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