[saymaListserv] Cookeville High School tells Quakers "anti-warmaterial is offensive"

Steve Livingston nc_stereoman at charter.net
Thu Feb 3 22:41:23 JEST 2005


Thanks for the update, Deanna. I remembered that was your 
territory! I look forward to hearing more as the story develops, and 
perhaps a sharing at SAYMA will be instructive to other Friends who 
are currently dealing with this issue, or looking to in the near future.

The elections in Iraq may give us hope that the hostilities there will 
wind down and that our military personnel may begin to pull out. Let 
us pray for stability in their fledgling democracy, hold their leaders 
in the Light as they work on drafting their Constitution, and hope 
every day that our own citizens have had enough of pre-emptive 
invasions to last at least a lifetime!

I would hope for one more thing: that the parents who were 
concerned about the content of the pamphlets have the opportunity 
to meet with Hector and the others, and have their concerns aired 
and heard. I trust that Hector and his fellow peacemakers would be 
able to listen and acknowledge them without argument or disdain.

Steve

On 3 Feb 2005 at 19:21, Red & Deanna wrote:

> 
> I've just gotten home from the School Board meeting mentioned in the
> article below. Steve, I'm so glad you saw it and got it into the list.
> It also appeared in the Nashville paper and the Cookeville paper. 
> 
> Hector made a three-minute presentation. He spoke with such
> gentleness. And with a moral authority I have never seen in a human
> before. He spoke of his service in the military. He spoke of the
> Sermon on the Mount and said that he believed when Jesus taught that
> we are to love our enemy he meant we are to love our enemy. He assured
> the School Board that we are not against the military recruiters. I
> felt quite in awe. Four others spoke, two from Veterans for Peace, and
> two from the community.The two community membersspoke in favor of
> allowing us to present materials on alternatives to the draft.
> 
> The superintendentreferred to severallegal principles, like the First
> Amendment, that are relevent to this situation. The School Boardvoted
> to referthe matter to their legal counsel.
> 
> In peace,
> 
> Deanna 
> 
> Deanna Nipp
> Cookeville Preparative Meeting
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- From: Steve Livingston 
> To: sayma at kitenet.net 
> Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 6:34 PM
> Subject: [saymaListserv] Cookeville High School tells Quakers
> "anti-warmaterial is offensive"
> 
> 
> I found this article in the Knoxville Sentinel online (KnoxNews)
> 
> NASHVILLE - A Cookeville High School administrator said Veterans for
> Peace and a Quaker group can't come back into his school with
> materials considered "anti-American" and "antimilitary."
> 
> The groups plan to go before the Putnam County School Board on
> Thursday with claims they're being denied privileges afforded to other
> organizations, including military recruiters.
> 
> The war veterans, some who also belong to the Quaker group, were
> allowed into the school during a September fair for organizations.
> They set up a table with books about U.S. wars and offered photocopied
> fliers and pamphlets from both organizations about the war in Iraq and
> military careers and alternatives.
> 
> Quaker and veteran Hector Black said several students stopped by the
> table asking questions, and a couple of teachers even thanked them for
> coming.
> 
> He said there wasn't any indication of a problem until later that
> evening when he got a phone call from Principal Wayne Shank.
> 
> Shank told Black that some of the groups' materials may be proper for
> adults, but he thought they were inappropriate for the students.
> 
> "The information was brought to the attention of administrators
> because of the influence it may have had," said Shank, who restricted
> future visits by the groups. "I felt from a principal's viewpoint that
> the students were being put into a position that they shouldn't," said
> Shank, who restricted future visits by the groups.
> 
> Black said Shank specified some quotes in the literature that he
> objected to, including one from a 1953 speech by President Eisenhower
> that said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every
> rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who
> hunger and are not fed. Those who are cold and are not clothed ... "
> 
> Another quote from an unknown author said, "The army that can defeat
> terrorism doesn't drive Humvees, or call in airstrikes ... It
> undermines military dictatorship and military lobbyists. It subverts
> sweatshops and special interests."
> 
> County School Director Michael Martin said: "Parents found the
> materials to be anti-American, antimilitary. That didn't come from us.
> That came from the parents who saw the materials when their kids
> brought it home."
> 
> Shank said in a phone interview from Cookeville that he couldn't
> recall everything he found offensive. He said he received a complaint
> call from a parent a day after the event and made an administrative
> decision to ban their "offensive materials."
> 
> Shank said he didn't tell the groups that they couldn't come back into
> the school. He required that all their materials get advance approval,
> a rule he said also applies to military recruiters.
> 
> The principal also said their literature could only be shown in a
> classroom setting that would allow an opportunity for a "balanced"
> presentation. Military recruiters and other groups don't face that
> restriction, the peace activists said.
> 
> Veteran Charlie Osburn said his group doesn't understand why military
> recruiters and others like the Association of Christian Athletes are
> allowed into Cookeville High School without the same restrictions. His
> group aims to inform students, he said.
> 
> Steve
> -- 
> Steve Livingston
> nc_stereoman at charter.net
> 
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