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Term paper about 'God' earns student failing grade
Daily Press (Victorville CA) ^ | LEROY STANDISH

Posted on 06/28/2005 7:23:53 AM PDT by zlala

Term paper about 'God' earns student failing grade 'He told me you might as well write about the Easter Bunny. He wanted to censor the word God.'

VICTORVILLE — For using the "G" word 41 times in a term paper, Bethany Hauf was given an "F" by her Victor Valley Community College instructor.

Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic — Religion and its Place within the Government — on one condition: Don't use the word God. Instead of complying with VVCC adjunct instructor Michael Shefchik's condition Hauf wrote a 10-page report for her English 101 class entitled "In God We Trust."

"He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, a 34-year-old mother of four, said. "I didn't realize God was taboo."

Hauf has received legal assistance from the American Center for Law and Justice. The ACLJ is a conservative Christian legal foundation founded by Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, who is also the founder, chairman and face of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"I don't loose my First Amendment rights when I walk into that college," Hauf said. She is demanding an apology from the teacher and that the paper be re-graded.

The college says the issue over Hauf's paper, written during the spring semester, has been satisfactorily resolved. "We settled this matter during the course of this class," said Judy Solis, chair of VVC's English department. "She was treated fairly and she knew what the options were."

Shefchik could not be reached for this report.

Hauf took her concerns about not being able to use "God" in her report to her teacher, then to the department chair. During a joint meeting between all three the options were laid out: Hand in the report with the "G" word or revise, edit or re-write the paper, Solis said.

"She continued to write her paper," Solis said. "She knew what the consequences were."

Hauf acknowledges she knew her teacher's condition for writing the paper, but argued it would be impossible to write about the affect of Christianity on the development of the United States without using the word God. "He told me you might as well write about the Easter Bunny," Hauf said. "He wanted to censor the word God."

Hauf first approached her teacher about writing her paper in an April 12 e-mail, according to a 12-page ACLJ paper sent to the college offering legal opinions in favor of Hauf.

Shefchik wrote her back an e-mail approving her topic choice, but at the same time cautioning her to be objective in her reporting. "I have one limiting factor," Shefchik wrote, according to the ACLJ. "No mention of big 'G' gods, i.e., one, true god argumentation."

The ACLJ said his actions are unconstitutional. "A student's constitutional free speech rights to express religious views are fully protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments," the ACLJ wrote.

In addition to an apology and a re-grading of Hauf's paper, the ACLJ demands Shefchik "receive some kind of training to sensitize him to the constitutional dimensions of his employment in a public educational institution, including his duty to respect constitutional freedoms of expression."

Hauf's husband supports his wife's position. "She has to pursue this. Not only has her civil rights been violated this is an English class she took, not a political science course," Fritz Hauf said. "She should be graded on the composition not the 'G' word."

Though getting an "F" on the research paper Hauf got a "C" for the class.

LeRoy Standish may be reached at 951-6277 or leroy_standish@link.freedom.com.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1loose; 2lose; 3yourdoggetsloose; 4youloseyourdog; aclj; antichristian; antichristianbigotry; bigot; communitycollege; highereducation; lawsuit; vvcc
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To: zlala
I live in NY State and my daughters best friend attended a class at a local community college last summer. She was told to write on the same subject, Religion and its Place within the Government and also told not to use the name God.
51 posted on 06/28/2005 7:45:42 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (If you think you know what's coming next....You don't know Jack.)
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To: zlala

Where's the ACLU?


52 posted on 06/28/2005 7:45:53 AM PDT by ItsOurTimeNow ("Para espanol, marque el dos.")
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To: zlala

I'd like to read the paper


53 posted on 06/28/2005 7:46:14 AM PDT by rface ("...the most schizoid freeper I've ever seen" - New Bloomfield, Missouri)
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To: zlala

Michael Shefchik = dumba#* moron


54 posted on 06/28/2005 7:46:32 AM PDT by hiramknight
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To: Natty Boh

Did you read the article? The only thing she had to do to "fix" her paper was to get rid of the word God. That is what the review board said, but she refused to do that.

Considering she pulled a C despite getting an F in this paper, she obviously was doing well in the class prior to this.

She is not a moron.

And, according to the article, the only condition on the paper (and I believe her...college papers are usually quite open-ended) was page length and NOT to use the word God.

That stipulation is in violation of the law, as community colleges are taxpayer-supported and it is illegal to disallow religious writings in such institutions.


55 posted on 06/28/2005 7:46:33 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: PaulaB

Not only that, does he wish for her to re-write history so as not to "offend"???

I'm sure Hitler would be proud of the way this teacher re-writes the Holocaust.

History may not always be pretty, or what we would have liked - but it always happened!


56 posted on 06/28/2005 7:46:39 AM PDT by mosquitobite
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To: Sam's Army

> Figures you'd show up here to take the other side.


The "other side?" You mean the side that says "If you've agreed to write a paper on topic X, and instead you write on topic Y, you'd be well advised to expect a lesser grade?"


57 posted on 06/28/2005 7:46:47 AM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: orionblamblam
The first amendment does not mention community colleges.

Hey, be careful -- there are hundreds of people on this site who will take that argument seriously.

58 posted on 06/28/2005 7:47:22 AM PDT by TheGhostOfTomPaine
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To: orionblamblam
OK, so a student did something *other* than what she said she was going to do, and got a failing grade for her efforts. This is news?

That was my first reaction, too.

59 posted on 06/28/2005 7:47:23 AM PDT by malakhi
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To: orionblamblam

No, the side that has a cobb up its ass about the mere mention of God in any context.


60 posted on 06/28/2005 7:47:40 AM PDT by Sam's Army (I declare the cowbell gag officially over)
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To: rwfromkansas

> Again, that one condition is AGAINST THE LAW.

And which law is that... and is that law founded upon the Constitution?


61 posted on 06/28/2005 7:47:46 AM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: cdga5for4

"I hope you are the same?"

He is an English instructor? How disturbing.
That is an auto-responder e-mail. No doubt others will get the same thing.


62 posted on 06/28/2005 7:48:25 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: Sam's Army

Non sequitur. Try to pay attention.


63 posted on 06/28/2005 7:48:51 AM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: orionblamblam

Nice try.


64 posted on 06/28/2005 7:49:18 AM PDT by Sam's Army (I declare the cowbell gag officially over)
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To: orionblamblam

According to Department of Education guidelines, the First Amendment applies to public institutions, including community and state colleges.


65 posted on 06/28/2005 7:49:30 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: orionblamblam

I thought the same thing about the I hope you are the same quote. Yes, it is an auto-responder. Everyone will receive the same response.


66 posted on 06/28/2005 7:49:39 AM PDT by cdga5for4
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To: rwfromkansas
That stipulation is in violation of the law, as community colleges are taxpayer-supported and it is illegal to disallow religious writings in such institutions.

This claim doesn't get any less silly with repetition. The school didn't prevent her from writing the paper or keep her from publishing it, passing out copies of it, or doing anything she damn well pleased with it. Her teacher gave her an F for not following instructions. Period.

67 posted on 06/28/2005 7:49:43 AM PDT by TheGhostOfTomPaine
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine

True. However, by not allowing her the free expression of her ideas in the manner she saw fit, including refererence to God, it was an effective censorship and violation of her rights.


68 posted on 06/28/2005 7:50:33 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: orionblamblam

Yes, I understand she went against the instructor's guidelines. And I admit this is an argument the student won't win.

For fun, let's imagine writing a paper on religion without using "God," but using Budda, Allah, Krishna, etc.


69 posted on 06/28/2005 7:50:53 AM PDT by peacebaby (We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.)
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To: Coleus

ping


70 posted on 06/28/2005 7:50:55 AM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine
"Her teacher gave her an F for not following instructions. Period."

Next instruction: Write a paper about the media but don't use the word "bias".

71 posted on 06/28/2005 7:51:46 AM PDT by Sam's Army (I declare the cowbell gag officially over)
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To: rwfromkansas
True. However, by not allowing her the free expression of her ideas in the manner she saw fit, including refererence to God, it was an effective censorship and violation of her rights.

Nonsense. She was a student in a classroom, and she turned in a paper that didn't meet the conditions of her assignment. If you think giving her an F on the paper constitutes a violation of her free speech rights, your view of the First Amendment goes way, way beyond that of the Supreme Court even at its most "liberal."

72 posted on 06/28/2005 7:52:18 AM PDT by TheGhostOfTomPaine
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To: WakeUpAndVote

You'd get a record deal.


73 posted on 06/28/2005 7:52:25 AM PDT by agrace (All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. - Emerson)
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To: Sam's Army
Next instruction: Write a paper about the media but don't use the word "bias".

I already agreed it was a stupid instruction. But giving her a low grade for not following it isn't "censoring" her in violation of her First Amendment rights.

74 posted on 06/28/2005 7:53:27 AM PDT by TheGhostOfTomPaine
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To: zlala
How on earth have we let the first amendment's establishment clause, which explicitly applies to Congress, hence federal legislation, become a national ban on anything and everything religious!? Does it take more than an IQ of 35 to be a supreme court justice? Can these people read?

What is the very first word of the first amendment to the constitution, your honor? It's Congress!! Is a college Congress? No! Granted, the two words are found fairly close to one another in the English dictionary, but you might find that their definitions differ somewhat.

It's simply pathetic just how far afield our "honorable" jurists flee from the text of the document they swear to uphold.

75 posted on 06/28/2005 7:53:38 AM PDT by TChris ("You tweachewous miscweant!" -- Elmer Fudd)
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To: zlala

Depending on the type of paper she was writing, and who it was intended to persuade, I can appreciate the prof advising her to consider other viewpoints and so on. It sounds like the assignment must have been to write a reasoned argument, not just write on the topic: Stuff I Believe. Saying "it's true because God says" might be fine approach if you are preaching to the choir, but that may not have been the context of this assignment. If it was, it would make for a lousy paper, and one that required very little thought or language skill.


76 posted on 06/28/2005 7:54:18 AM PDT by Puddleglum (Thank God the Boston blowhard lost)
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine

Ghost....a professor does not have the legal authority to use such extreme limits on the free speech of their students by dictating what words to use or not use.

Thank God I never had a teacher like this in my classes.

Yeah, she did not follow his conditions, but his one condition was illegal.


77 posted on 06/28/2005 7:54:20 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: zlala

For those who would like to share their thoughts with the comrade Professor first hand:

Michael Shefchik
shefchikm@vvc.edu
English Adjunct Instructor


78 posted on 06/28/2005 7:54:26 AM PDT by markedman (Lay me down to a watery grave)
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To: orionblamblam
"Which right would that be?"

The right to fair and unbiased treatment; the right to express her beliefs without intimidation.
79 posted on 06/28/2005 7:54:44 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: Beelzebubba

For the purposes of an essay on "Religion and its Place within the Government" I think a quality essay could be written without referencing "God".

To not use the word would hardly force any student to write that religion is unjustifiable. In fact, I don't see how the justification of religion per se would be an issue one way or the other. It's not what the topic is.

So no, I don't think the instructor's logic is transparent. I still don't understand it.


80 posted on 06/28/2005 7:54:53 AM PDT by SpringheelJack
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To: WakeUpAndVote; scholar
"How about if I write about bustin a #@$% in my ())^90 A$$ and shootin' my 9 at a drive by?"

HA!!
Well I'd say given the clown grading at this hellhole of a school?
You'd be awarded an *A+*, for "Creativity".

I mean how couldn't you earn such a grade?
Failing you would be argued a clear sign of "discrimination" and/or "racism".
Wouldn't it? :o)

Someone has just *got* to ask the miscreant brainstem teaching her class the reason(s) why the word "God" -- or any other word not regarded "obscene" -- cannot be used in a paper written for an English class.

If he cannot give a satisfactory answer -- & "offending others" is NOT a reason since only said instructor need read that paper, eh? -- then "the" motive's quite clear for the civil rights suite to follow.

...he'd (surely) be skinned *alive*.

81 posted on 06/28/2005 7:55:15 AM PDT by Landru (Indulgences: 2 for a buck.)
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To: orionblamblam
her First Amendment rights apply

Do they? Hmm. I suggest you take a look at any of the Ten Commandment threads: you'll find LOTS of people who will happily point out to you that the first Amendment says that *Congress* is barred from censoring this or that... not state court houses and the like. The first amendment does not mention community colleges.
.. again a misunderstanding of where those rights come from .

The bill of rights does not grant any rights .. it simply recognizes rights that are inherent to man.
inalienable rights I might add.
82 posted on 06/28/2005 7:55:21 AM PDT by THEUPMAN (#### comment deleted by moderator)
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine

The INSTRUCTION itself was illegal.


83 posted on 06/28/2005 7:55:23 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine
Next instruction: Write a paper about the media but don't use the word "bias".

And besides, her instructor didn't assign the topic of religion; he agreed to let her write about religion if she met a specified condition. The condition was dumb, but it's not as though he told her to write about religion without using the word "God."

84 posted on 06/28/2005 7:55:50 AM PDT by TheGhostOfTomPaine
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine
"But giving her a low grade for not following it isn't "censoring" her in violation of her First Amendment rights."

He attempted to censor her from the get-go. He failed and she got an F as punishment.

85 posted on 06/28/2005 7:56:48 AM PDT by Sam's Army (I declare the cowbell gag officially over)
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine
"...but her paper wasn't "censored." She just got an F for not following instructions (stupid as those instructions may have been).

Respectfully have to disagree with your reading...

Story says,"...Hauf took her concerns about not being able to use "God" in her report to her teacher, then to the department chair. During a joint meeting between all three the options were laid out: Hand in the report with the "G" word or revise, edit or re-write the paper, Solis said.

"She continued to write her paper," Solis said. "She knew what the consequences were."

Looks like to me they're asking her to take the God out.

86 posted on 06/28/2005 7:57:15 AM PDT by Chasaway (and)
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To: orionblamblam

You're a disgrace. Why don't you find somewhere else to post. Enemies of the 1st and 14th Amendments are not suited to a Free Republic.


87 posted on 06/28/2005 7:57:15 AM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: zlala
Another publik skool teacher that doesn't understand that a student can write about God in the classroom.

This teacher was in the right. The student sounds like a dope who couldn't follow directions.

According to the ACLJ, Pat Robertson's group, what he requested was not that the word "God" be omitted, but "No mention of big 'G' gods, i.e., one, true god argumentation." In other words, that the basis of the argument cannot be based on the presumption that there is one, true, God and that government's goal should be doing his bidding.

That appears to be a legitimate restriction, in an academic setting. If it is supposed to be a scholarly work, and the student turns in something that essentially was a proselytizing piece, then she deserved the grade she got.

If the student wanted to do a scholarly look at the role of Christianity in the foundation of America, it could be done without an argument based on the student's religious feelings. That is both a reasonable request and is not in anyway a violation of any First Amendment rights the student has. It sounds to me that the student wanted to do whatever she wanted, didn't want to follow the rules, and now is in whining because she has to accept the consequences of her actions.

88 posted on 06/28/2005 7:57:54 AM PDT by WildHorseCrash
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To: rwfromkansas
The INSTRUCTION itself was illegal.

So you keep saying. What was the illegal instruction? Careful how you answer; remember that the instructor didn't assign the topic but agreed, under certain conditions, to accept a paper on that subject in fulfillment of an assignment already given.

89 posted on 06/28/2005 7:57:56 AM PDT by TheGhostOfTomPaine
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To: Natty Boh

Or the teacher just sucks and is an ahole


90 posted on 06/28/2005 7:59:01 AM PDT by italianquaker (CONFIRM THE JUDGES BUSH=MANDATE)
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To: Chasaway; TheGhostOfTomPaine

Or at least take it out or flunk...


91 posted on 06/28/2005 7:59:11 AM PDT by Chasaway (and)
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To: zlala

It seems pretty clear that the assignment was to write a paper with a specific condition.

The assignment was rather odd, but to deliberately not do the paper as directed and later complain about a failing grade is IMO an example of convoluted reasoning.


92 posted on 06/28/2005 7:59:15 AM PDT by Radix (I was looking for a Tag Line when I found this one!)
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To: rwfromkansas

>
> The professor's requirement is illegal.
>

It is not, the professer can set any terms he wants to. The requirement may be silly, or indefensible, but not illegal.

And she is claiming "I didn't realize God was taboo." -- when it is clear from the story that she fully understood her professors requirements before writing the paper.

I'm not saying she shouldn't stand up for her beliefs, but she should have done so before writing the paper.


93 posted on 06/28/2005 7:59:45 AM PDT by kpp_kpp
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To: orionblamblam
Non sequitur. The paper topic was about *religion* and government, not *God* and government.

Not so, this is how it reads in the article, Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic — Religion and its Place within the Government. We can argue semantics all day. But you can not discuss the US Government w/out some discussion of God, w/out being intellectually dishonest. Whether it be talking about the founding fathers or the hot button issue of today...can God be talked about in public schools or buildings.

94 posted on 06/28/2005 8:00:10 AM PDT by zlala (I used to have a handle on life but it broke.)
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To: SpringheelJack

I wrote an essay in my Advanced Comp class and maybe used the word God once.

Since the topic was on religion in government, not God, I did not feel the need to use the word. I was talking about the influence of a belief system on the government, not a deity.

However, I won't question this girl's word choice unless I saw the paper first.


95 posted on 06/28/2005 8:00:33 AM PDT by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: Motherbear
That's easy. Religion has a huge role to play in making us all feel good about ourselves regardless of our actions.

GOD, unfortunately, expects something of us, so liberals hate the true God.

BINGO!

96 posted on 06/28/2005 8:00:39 AM PDT by Clock King
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To: zlala
"I don't loose my First Amendment rights when I walk into that college,"

Too bad the same can't be said for your spelling skills. (Or maybe it was the reporter's spelling skills.)

Can't anyone here speak this language anymore?

97 posted on 06/28/2005 8:00:41 AM PDT by Maceman (The Qur'an is Qur'ap.)
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To: rwfromkansas
I think we don't have enough information to take her or the article at face value. It could be true, but until we see the paper and the question it was supposed to answer, there is no way to know for certain. Topics may be open-ended, but they usually have to address a certain topic and use the materials that were covered in class. If she just wrote a paper that simply stated her own opinions, well, then she deserved to fail. That doesn't mean she isn't intelligent, it just means she didn't write a good paper.

I mean, don't you get the feeling the whole purpose of this article is just to agitate people and start another round of griping about victimization?

98 posted on 06/28/2005 8:01:05 AM PDT by Natty Boh
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To: rwfromkansas

> According to Department of Education guidelines, the First Amendment applies to public institutions, including community and state colleges.

A DOE "guideline" is a *law?*

Second point: does this mean that the 1st also applies to grade school, and thus kids have the freedom of speech and cannot be censored in class to shut up when teacher is speaking? Well, that would explain the collapse in classroom discipline, I suppose...


99 posted on 06/28/2005 8:01:14 AM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: TheGhostOfTomPaine
Write a paper on Roe v Wade, but don't use the word "abortion".

Drive but don't use the steering wheel.

Flip someone off, but don't use your middle finger.

Do as I ridiculously instruct, or get an F

100 posted on 06/28/2005 8:01:15 AM PDT by Sam's Army (I declare the cowbell gag officially over)
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