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Court Ruling Prompts Ban on Groups Sending Fliers Home With Students
Washington Post ^ | Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Lori Aratani

Posted on 08/17/2006 8:26:10 AM PDT by fgoodwin

Montgomery County school officials announced yesterday that they are temporarily banning outside groups such as parent-teacher associations and the Boy Scouts from distributing fliers about activities and events in student backpacks.

The decision comes less than a week after a federal appeals court ruled that the school system's policy for flier distribution was unconstitutional because it gave educators unlimited power to approve or reject materials.

The case is the outgrowth of a dispute between the school system and Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maryland. The group filed suit in 2001 after the school system denied its request to distribute fliers about its Good News Club programs, in which students learn about the Bible. System officials said they were concerned because the materials were religious.

System officials said the court's decision left them with only two options until a new policy could be developed: allow all fliers to be distributed or allow none.

Educators said allowing all fliers to be distributed was not practical.

"Temporarily suspending the distribution of fliers is the only real option the court left us because opening the floodgates on backpack distribution would overwhelm our staff and turn them into professional backpack stuffers instead of professional educators,'' said Larry A. Bowers, chief operating officer for the school system.

Now only materials from the school system and other government agencies are allowed to be sent home. PTAs and community groups such as the Boy Scouts may display their fliers on tables in school buildings but may not send them home with students.

"It's going to have a devastating effect on communication for PTAs to parents,'' said Jane deWinter, president of the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations. "We're very, very concerned about this. "

The Board of Education is expected to rework the policy in the fall.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: backpacks; boardofeducation; boyscouts; bsa; christianity; classrooms; education; evangelism; fliers; goodnewsclub; maryland; mcps; montgomerycounty; pta; pto; religion; schoolboard; schools; teachers
http://tinyurl.com/lymmy
1 posted on 08/17/2006 8:26:13 AM PDT by fgoodwin
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To: fgoodwin

Makes sense. Gotta keep anything religious away from the kiddeos. No good can come from Christianity entering the hearts and minds of children. /sarc


2 posted on 08/17/2006 8:30:32 AM PDT by The Iceman Cometh (Just another evil conservative)
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To: fgoodwin
Hmmm...
System officials said they were concerned because the materials were religious.
Well, I'm gonna have to side with the good folks at MontCo Public Schools on this one. As we all know, the First Ammendment specifically states that any entitiy receiving Federal funding should be openly hostile to religion, or really, Christianity. The Federalist Papers clarify that wicca, islam, and atheism are, in the words of James Madison "Hunky Dorey".
3 posted on 08/17/2006 8:31:16 AM PDT by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: fgoodwin
outside groups such as parent-teacher associations??? And here I thought that was an inside group.
4 posted on 08/17/2006 8:39:14 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Tom Gallagher - the anti-Crist [FL Governor, 2006 primary])
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To: fgoodwin
"Temporarily suspending the distribution of fliers is the only real option the court left us because opening the floodgates on backpack distribution would overwhelm our staff and turn them into professional backpack stuffers instead of professional educators,'' said Larry A. Bowers, chief operating officer for the school system.

I wonder if they would prove competent in this new area of responsibility?

5 posted on 08/17/2006 8:46:09 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: fgoodwin

BTW, I guess the message here is that the schools take responsibility for physically handling every child's backpack and putting flyers into those backpacks.

I'm pretty sure at my kid's school they just pass flyers around and the kids stuff their own backpacks.


6 posted on 08/17/2006 8:47:32 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: fgoodwin
Good ol' Montgomery County. Home to kooks who tried banning Santa Claus from public displays. Former home of incompetant Police Chief Charles Moose, who had us chasing white vans looking for the Beltway sniper.

We need an "Ithaca: City of Evil"-style alert whenever Montgomery County, MD is in the news.

7 posted on 08/17/2006 8:59:27 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Colossians 2:6)
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To: NonValueAdded
outside groups such as parent-teacher associations??? And here I thought that was an inside group.

Anything that's not both NEA and ACLU blessed is an outside group.

8 posted on 08/18/2006 6:30:38 AM PDT by polymuser (There is one enemy and one war.)
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