I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ACLU Seeking to Modify Behavior at Escambia County Charter Elementary School...

The ACLU of Northwest Florida has sent a letter to the Escambia School District requesting (demanding) that we curb behavior at Jacqueline Harris Preparatory Academy, an Escambia County Public Charter School, which the ACLU asserts is unconstitutional:
The ACLU takes issue with the JHPA website, requesting the district have JHPA staff:
“Remove the unconstitutional religious content from its web page”—apparently, the biographical statement about the school’s namesake is just toooooooo religious… here is what the JHPA web page says:
“The Jacqueline Harris Preparatory Academy was named after the late Jacqueline Watson Harris who demonstrated clearly her faith and belief in God. She loved children and believed in each child's innate ability to learn, however, she believed that the school, parents, community, and church must form a linkage and work together to help our children withstand and overcome the ills of society”
I tend to agree with that statement above—and I’m not certain that this biographical stub, in and of itself, is unconstitutional.  Just my opinion.  But more importantly, is not the statement above true?  With all of the ills in society these days, particularly in the inner cities and at schools mired in poverty, such a strong statement of the course of action necessary to address these problems is WHAT WE NEED!  Is saying the founder of the school, in biographical context, was a person of faith UNCONSTITUTIONAL!! ..Or is this a freedom of speech issue, and does not JHPA have the right to identify their namesake as a Christian??
So now the ACLU is going on the attack against a school that is trying, and succeeding, in educating some of the most difficult populations of students in our area----because the ACLU feels students are being pressured into Praying.  WOW!
The letter we received today demands that the district:
1.        Issue an immediate directive to JHPA employees saying prayer and prayer leading by staff is not tolerated
2.       Investigate instances where JHPA officials have used their public position to advance religious beliefs
3.       For each violation, have the violation individually addressed and appropriately instruct officials involved (counsel them) to prevent further instances
I hope JHPA tells the ACLU they are exercising their right of free speech by presenting the founder’s biographical information on the webpage-- and would expect no less from the ACLU than the ACLU’s complete support of their right to do so!


Anonymous said...

You are full of it. Why are you not speaking about the press conference held this morning on the Federal courthouse steps about the discriminatory behavior in Florida schools, which included the Escambia County School District? You run your mouth to push your agenda, but you are not honest enough to address the discriminatory problems in YOUR district that you have personal knowledge of. You are not honest enough to discuss the many “Cause” findings for discrimination and retaliation against YOUR district. You are not honest enough to demand that the superintendent remove his buddies that are not effective in their positions. You are not honest enough to openly discuss the thousands of dollars that tax payers are spending to pay YOUR litigation expenses because of the vindictive, discriminatory behavior of YOUR district personnel. The walls are closing in on the Escambia County School District and the ship is sinking fast. Every Federal agency in the country has their eye on YOUR district, but you are not talking about that on YOUR blog. The Southern Poverty Law Center is not an organization that you should take lightly. They have deep pockets and they will do exactly what they say they will do. They would not waste their time and resources if they did not believe that YOUR district is habitual discriminators. Talk about that Jeff.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous-I'm not going to jump into the media spin-up about how some students are disparately treated. Others in the district are working that issue-and when the dust settles I'm confident there is no systemic patern of our Schools giving students with equivalent discipline histories differing punishment for the same infractions based upon their race--I just don't see that as something that is happening. But I am concerned that there are a large number of discipline problems in some sub-groups. By the way, since we're talking,--answer this one question: Assuming our treatment of all students is equal and punishments are doled out in a level fashion (which they are)--why are some subgroups being expelled and disciplined at a rate that far exceeds their representatation, percentage-wise, in the district as a whole? ...I expect a rational, cogent response and no X-files conspiracy theories, lies, name calling, or finger pointing. [Here is a hint: It probably has something to do with the breakdown of the family unit, the lack of faith in God, and the utter and complete failure of most of the Great Society entitlement programs which have devastated some communities accutely in our country, incentivizing laziness and a lack of a work ethic] --Now I've done it--I've answered my own question for you! think about my response and refute it with logic-if you are capable--otherwise it is you who is "full of it"

Anonymous said...

Who are you to question anyone’s faith in God? Where was your faith when you were hiding behind a computer and claiming that District 3 was a drag on the district and, stated that those students should be allowed to “dropout” in the 8th grade? Have you been instrumental in implementing any programs to help these students who are from broken homes or low income homes? No, you don’t have any solutions because you believe that there is no hope for these kids. We can’t ignore the fact that home hurts for many kids, and we can’t hold the child accountable for the choices that their parent’s have made. However, we can offer kids HOPE even when they sometimes come from HOPELESS situations, but I don’t expect a person like you to understand that. Your comments are racially biased and you should be signed up for racial sensitivity training. The hate, venom, and incentive comments that come out of your mouth against Black students, teachers, administrators, and the economically disadvantaged is outrageous. I believe that all children are pregnant with possibilities. When I look at a child I think of all of the things that they can be because my vision is not so obscured, bias, and racist that I can’t see past their circumstances. Here is some logic for you: Some of these students that you offer no HOPE to (District 3) could possibly be your son in-law or daughter in-law one day. Here is a quote for you: Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. —Mark Twain. I am not going to discuss this further with you because I don’t want to give the appearnce that I am a fool, so you can post your comment to yourself because I will not be reading it or commenting.

Jeff Bergosh said...

You insult me, call me names, then fail to respond to my question. You obviously cannot articulate your position, so you resort to ad hominem personal attacks. that's okay, I understand you are probably frustrated; I would still like to hear your explanation for the anomaly in misbehavior events in our district that I posed to you earlier, if you can put a rational response forward without simply (and wrongly) calling me a racist......