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Sixth-Grader Penalized For Mentioning Jesus in His Christmas Paper at School
Liberty Counsel ^ | December 18, 2008 | n/a

Posted on 12/18/2008 2:36:42 PM PST by Cindy

http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=934

#

Note: The following text is a quote:

http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14100&PRID=759

December 18, 2008

Sixth-Grader Penalized For Mentioning Jesus in His Christmas Paper at School

www.LC.org

Hattiesburg, MS – Eleven-year-old Andrew White wrote a poem about Christmas but received a deduction for writing about Jesus. His teacher, Latasha Atkins, insisted that mentioning Jesus was not allowed and asked him to write a new poem.

Andrew and his classmates were assigned a creative expression paper for the Winter Writer’s Board as part of his sixth-grade language class at Thames Elementary School in the Hattiesburg Public School District. He could choose among three topics, and he chose to write a poem about “what Christmas means to me.” After turning in his rough draft, Atkins circled the word “Jesus” and deducted one point from his grade. The teacher explained to Andrew that he was not allowed to mention Jesus at school and would need to rewrite the poem for his final draft without using the word “Jesus.” He attempted to rewrite the paper according to the teacher’s instructions.

Andrew’s parents discovered what happened because Andrew was late turning in the final draft and was notified by the teacher. Atkins sent an email to Andrew’s mother explaining the situation. In her email, she specifically stated: “He and another child did a poem about Christ. I know we can't discuss these type [sic] of things in school so I asked the two of them to do another poem of their choice.” Andrew’s parents encouraged him to use his original poem as his final draft.

Andrew’s poem, “A Great Christmas,” reads: “The best Christmas ever is when everyone is there. It is when everyone is laughing here and there. That is the Christmas I want to share. Christmas is about Jesus’ birth. About peace on Earth. This is what Christmas is about. It is when He lay in a manger. And the three wise men come to see. That’s what it means to me.”

Principal Carrie Hornsby sided with Andrew and his parents, changing his grade to a 100 and conceding that there was nothing improper in using Jesus’ name. Hornsby had each teacher send out a letter for all the parents to read regarding religious expression at school. The letter clearly explains that religious expression is permitted under federal guidelines. However, despite promises that these papers would be posted on the Winter Writer’s Board for all to see, Atkins has refused to post any of the papers from the class.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law commented: “Some educators need education that the story of Christmas is not banned from public schools. I am relieved that the situation was resolved by the principal but horrified that a sixth-grader was told by his teacher, ‘we can’t discuss these types of things in school.’ I don’t understand why some people don’t get it. Christmas is a state and federal holiday. Schools are closed to celebrate this holiday. Obviously, Christmas is constitutional.”

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TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: atkins; christmas; education; homeschoolingisgood; jesus; latashaatkins; moralabsolutes; publiceducation; publicschool; publicschools; publikskoolz
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1 posted on 12/18/2008 2:36:43 PM PST by Cindy
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To: All

http://www.lc.org/index.cfm?PID=14102&AlertID=934

LIBERTY ALERT
(December 18, 2008)


2 posted on 12/18/2008 2:37:40 PM PST by Cindy
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To: Cindy

Scary Christmas.

I wonder who Lathasha voted for?


3 posted on 12/18/2008 2:38:59 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: All

CHRISTMAS
http://www.truthusa.com/CHRISTmas.html


4 posted on 12/18/2008 2:39:43 PM PST by Cindy
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To: Cindy

...a ‘Creative Expression’ paper... What a JOKE!!!


5 posted on 12/18/2008 2:41:25 PM PST by joethedrummer
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To: Cindy

Latasha Atkins needs to be horse whipped!


6 posted on 12/18/2008 2:42:44 PM PST by A. Morgan (Yikes! Are we in trouble, yet, or what?)
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To: Cindy

“Some educators need education that the story of Christmas is not banned from public schools.”

Our kid’s teachers are all pretty good with it, and have gotten that message. This year even louder. (My son played his electric guitar and sang “Oh Holy Night” for a Latin class project (in English and Latin).


7 posted on 12/18/2008 2:43:53 PM PST by 21twelve
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To: Cindy

Next year, little Andrew White will be crucified upside-down for acknowledging the wrong Messiah.


8 posted on 12/18/2008 2:44:17 PM PST by TonyStark
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To: Cindy

Take the teach out back and spank her a$$ good! Or meet her in the grocery store and have a little discussion about fair warning.
Unions and tenure mean nothing on the street.


9 posted on 12/18/2008 2:45:25 PM PST by devistate one four (Impatiently waiting for the next tea party! Tet '68)
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To: Cindy

Mentioning Jesus would have been OK had he used it as an expletive.


10 posted on 12/18/2008 2:46:30 PM PST by LiberConservative (That temperatures are actually falling now illustrates how fast the world is warming.)
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To: Cindy

I actually think that poem is excellent...the kid did great.


11 posted on 12/18/2008 2:50:20 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (There once was a dream called, "Hippy Beat Down." The mere whisper of if caused cops to cry.")
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To: Cindy
Principal Carrie Hornsby sided with Andrew and his parents, changing his grade to a 100 and conceding that there was nothing improper in using Jesus’ name.

I'll be danged. Some sanity from a most unexpected source. Kudos to Principal Hornsby.

12 posted on 12/18/2008 2:51:58 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (A couple of pints and a package of crisps....ahhh. Life's good.)
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To: mylife

On Latasha, Loquitia, Shaniqua, Tawanda,

On Tameeka, Katira, Kadeesha, Lasondra...

Yeah, guess who she voted for. Not too damn hard.


13 posted on 12/18/2008 2:53:43 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Secret Agent Man
. DA NIGHT BEFO CRIZZMUS
14 posted on 12/18/2008 2:58:16 PM PST by Snurple (VEGETARIAN, OLD INDIAN WORD FOR BAD HUNTER.)
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To: mylife

Is she of TROP?


15 posted on 12/18/2008 2:58:34 PM PST by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: Secret Agent Man

at least the principle stood
(many are called, but few... get up)


16 posted on 12/18/2008 3:00:56 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Cindy
He should just write a poem with one of the myriad of names given to Christ in the Old and New Testaments. I'd venture a guess that his teacher is too ignorant to know that he's still writing of Jesus when he refers to Him as the Bright and Morning Star; Alpha and Omega; Ransom; Rose of Sharon; Bread of Life; Counselor; and/or about a jillion other names.
17 posted on 12/18/2008 3:00:56 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth ($750 billion is nothing - surrender your children, wealth and gold fillings now to avoid the rush.)
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To: Cindy
Has Latasha Atkins been re-edumakayted by the skrewel bored as to what Christmas represents during this process?

Somehow, I doubt it.

FMCDH(BITS)

18 posted on 12/18/2008 3:03:04 PM PST by nothingnew (I fear for my Republic due to marxist influence in our government. Open eyes/see)
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To: Cindy
Shes a complete moron and worthy of of all ridicule. CHRISTmas...the name speaks for itself and what the holiday is all about.
19 posted on 12/18/2008 3:08:08 PM PST by Snurple (VEGETARIAN, OLD INDIAN WORD FOR BAD HUNTER.)
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To: Snurple

“LATASHA,” “these type.” There’s your problem, right there. First choice, home school. If you can’t , a second mortgage or second job for a good private school. In many communities now, if we love our children, we have no other option.


20 posted on 12/18/2008 3:30:32 PM PST by Godwin1
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

Good for the Hattiesburg principal. I went to school there, USM, and hope to return to MS.
I was beginning to think, oh no they’ve gotten to MS as well, but faith was restored by the common sense used by the principal.


21 posted on 12/18/2008 3:37:15 PM PST by LeavingNewYork
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To: Cindy

Rubbish. Agents of the state, in this case teachers, are constrained by current case law interpreting the non-establishment clause from taking positions on religion that might construed as state support for some religious position. Students are under no such restriction, and indeed attempting to place them under such a restriction violates the free-exercise and either freedom of speech or freedom of press clauses of the First Amendment.

Give the lad his point back, suspend the teacher, and send her for a mandatory civics lesson before letting her back in the classroom.


22 posted on 12/18/2008 3:42:48 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: Cindy

Why can’t they discuss these type of things in public schools? Most of the premier education institutions in this country began as religious institutions. It didn’t stop them from churning out scientists, doctors, and engineers who built this country. The religious paranoia is stupid. We can’t have a depiction of Christ on a school wall that has been there for years because the ACLU chooses to target it and find offense? We can’t have the ten commands in a court house though the very foundation of western law is based on those commandments.
Teachers are now told they should not even use Christmas in bulletin board displays? I recommend you tour the local public school and take some pictures to see if Christmas is still Christmas in your area.

Give your kids a real gift this Christmas and pull them out of the teacher union controlled schools remember if you pretend it isn’t a problem you may wake up and find your children are not yours at all, that they are the systems children. A corrupt, cowardly, whining, ugly, perverted system that deserves the trash heap of history for its failings.


23 posted on 12/18/2008 3:48:12 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Cindy
He could choose among three topics, and he chose to write a poem about “what Christmas means to me.”

Note this. The teacher offered a choice of topics and the meaning of Christmas was among them. That teacher is not simply anti-Christian, she is also dumber than wood.

24 posted on 12/18/2008 4:02:20 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Cindy

I hope they take it to court because it is NOT illegal to mention Christ or your faith. Geez. I hate this.


25 posted on 12/18/2008 4:24:18 PM PST by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: Maelstorm
I recommend you tour the local public school and take some pictures to see if Christmas is still Christmas in your area.

I was there this morning, and yes Christmas is still Christmas here. It also was last week when we attended the 4th and 5th grade chorus' Christmas concert, a Colonial Christmas.

Oh, and they had their Christmas parties today, as tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas vacation.

Contrary to your belief not all public schools, and not all public school districts are the way you describe. Not even the best public schools are perfect, of course that can also be said about private schools. Broadbrushing is just so unattractive.

26 posted on 12/18/2008 4:25:51 PM PST by Gabz (Is a sarcasm tag really needed?)
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To: annalex
.......she is also dumber than wood.

Hey, I can train wood to grow in a certain way........

Sorry, couldn't resist, your point is well noted.

27 posted on 12/18/2008 4:27:52 PM PST by Gabz (Is a sarcasm tag really needed?)
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To: Gabz

I disagree. As long as teachers belong to teachers unions that are trying to disassemble the traditions of America they are a problem where they are good or bad. If your school district is so good, do your teachers belong to the same unions that spent their union dues to elect Barack Obama? They may have not yet removed Christmas yet or replaced Christ with a big X but it will happen if we continue to not hold them responsible for the organizations to which they contribute.


28 posted on 12/18/2008 4:32:33 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: mylife
I wonder who Lathasha voted for?

95% chance of it being Obama

29 posted on 12/18/2008 4:33:38 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Kill the English their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants)
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To: Gabz

My wife works at a public elementary school as a nurse. Stopped by to take he out to lunch last week, Christmas tree in the office, manger scene on hall wall. People who read a story like this and just assume this behavior encompasses all public schools are just plain ignorant.


30 posted on 12/18/2008 4:36:48 PM PST by Snurple (VEGETARIAN, OLD INDIAN WORD FOR BAD HUNTER.)
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To: Gabz

One more thing I didn’t say that “ALL” school districts are like that but enough are and the idea that many teachers feel intimidated thinking they should not put up decorations for Christmas or Halloween and such is a problem that can not be generalized away by saying their are bad schools in general. What I was saying is that we need to be proactive. Sitting by and assuming because our school is just fine that it will not change will guarantee that it will. The good thing is people are fighting back. I would feel better if teachers who feel differently would show a little guts and leave their unions. Conservatives need to quit justifying their allegiances of convenience.

Sorry I’m just very pissed off at public school teachers in general after this last election.


31 posted on 12/18/2008 4:44:12 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Maelstorm

Public school teachers with a masters degree make all of 30 grand... thats right a whopping 30 thousand a year. What kind of people do you think make a career out of it. Pissed at teachers? Give me a fricken break, I have 3rd year electrical apprentices that make more than that.


32 posted on 12/18/2008 4:54:10 PM PST by Snurple (VEGETARIAN, OLD INDIAN WORD FOR BAD HUNTER.)
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To: Maelstorm

My county went for John McCain, and the teachers here are not unionized. They may choose to belong to the state “Education Association” but many do not.

Around here we do hold them responsible for what is going on, and they know it. We may not win all our battles with the district administration, but we do win the ones that count.


33 posted on 12/18/2008 5:02:28 PM PST by Gabz (Is a sarcasm tag really needed?)
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To: mylife

Probably Obama. Looks like she and he have a lot in common.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LATASHA AKINS
State vs. Latasha Atkins - W2003-01178-CCA-R3-CD View
Dyer County - The Defendant, Latasha Atkins, appeals her jury conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to sell, contending the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/opinions/tcca/Cc1qtr2004.htm

It also looks like she only graduated from Collins High School in 2000. And then managed to get a CDA via financial help from the Edwards Foundation. http://www.unitedwaynola.org/news_and_events/enews/2008_Vol_3/cda.html

Sound familiar?

Of course, this could be ‘another’ Latasha Adkins.


34 posted on 12/18/2008 5:05:58 PM PST by XenaLee
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To: Snurple

Thank you.

These kinds of stories just fuel the ignorance you mention. Not to mention participants in these threads who don’t bother understanding that and just perpetuate it out of their own ignorance or personal experience in one place.

When my husband and I were considering moving here one of the first things I looked into were the area school. IOW I did my homework and as a whole I have been very pleased with the school my daughter has attended. That doesn’t mean it is perfect or I have not had my dealings with the superintendent and the school board, but overall I am pleased. We moved here shortly before she started kindergarten and is now in 5th grade. I think I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for what is going on and how things are handled.


35 posted on 12/18/2008 5:09:44 PM PST by Gabz (Is a sarcasm tag really needed?)
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To: Snurple

Well see that is the problem. Believing one is entitled just because they have such and such a degree is a problem and yes I am pissed at incompetent teachers and teachers who support liberals whether it is through their vote or through their dues. We have soldiers fighting for us and risking their lives some of which who get half that. Also they don’t get half the year off. Anyone who can only make 30,000 a year with a masters degree, well I don’t think anyone should feel sympathy for that person. It is exactly the kind of thinking that idolizes the incompetent. If you make a decision to enter a profession which you know pays a certain average salary then grow the fk up and live with it! There are very good public school teachers but until they stand up and quit towing the line for the unions then I’ll not have any sympathy for them.

I’m tired of the whining and water carrying. Everyone is a victim. Pretending to be patriotic and upstanding and going along with the most vile and stupid behaviors. Shuttling little boys who dared to get bored off to be drugged and controlled for the sake of the state and women who see maleness as a disease. Corrupting the minds of girls to pit them against men and abhor children and family for the sake of corporate success. The time for excuses is over, the time for patting the incompetent on the head and saying “there there we know how hard you try” is over.


36 posted on 12/18/2008 5:14:16 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Maelstorm

Point is, people like you bitch and moan about teachers in PS but dont want to pay anything for a good teacher. 30 thousand a year is not much pay for someone with a degree to teach. As for the getting half the year off with pay...you must be high on something.


37 posted on 12/18/2008 5:22:15 PM PST by Snurple (VEGETARIAN, OLD INDIAN WORD FOR BAD HUNTER.)
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To: Gabz

Mine did too. I live in Chesterfield. As for Unions the last time I checked 80 percent of the nation’s more than 4 million teachers belong to unions. Now I’m not certain what percentage of Virginia educators belong to them but I’d be surprised to find if a majority did not. Don’t get me wrong I’m not only mad at teachers unions, I’m mad at all unions. There are some good alternatives to the politically driven unions that are growing but we have a long way to go. If we do not erode the influence of unions we will never improve the quality of education and protect our children from liberal social indoctrination.


38 posted on 12/18/2008 5:34:31 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Maelstorm
You may not have said "ALL" but your implication was perfectly clear, especially with this comment:

Give your kids a real gift this Christmas and pull them out of the teacher union controlled schools ....

But to continue....... What I was saying is that we need to be proactive.

Your idea of being proactive and mine are polar opposites. I'm not running away, as you suggest. I'm there and I'm being proactive at the source.

Conservatives need to quit justifying their allegiances of convenience.

What are you talking about? While I am, in general, happy with the school district here, there is absolutely no convenience about it for me. I gave up a great deal in order to have a decent school for my daughter to attend.

Sorry I’m just very pissed off at public school teachers in general after this last election.

Yeah, well I'm just pissed off at people who make generalizations without knowing what they are talking about. So I guess we're even.

39 posted on 12/18/2008 5:54:33 PM PST by Gabz (Is a sarcasm tag really needed?)
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To: A. Morgan
Latasha Atkins needs to be horse whipped!

Yep, that would be the Christian thing to do.

40 posted on 12/18/2008 6:04:41 PM PST by Amelia
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To: Cindy

Bttt.


41 posted on 12/18/2008 6:07:33 PM PST by fanfan (Update on Constitutional Crisis in Canada.....Click user name)
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To: mylife

I like the way you supply light.

Thanks.


42 posted on 12/18/2008 6:09:44 PM PST by fanfan (Update on Constitutional Crisis in Canada.....Click user name)
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To: Cindy
The teacher explained to Andrew that he was not allowed to mention Jesus at school

“He and another child did a poem about Christ. I know we can't discuss these type [sic] of things in school

Besides being horribly lacking in US Civics, the teacher also appears to be a dismal Language teacher.

43 posted on 12/18/2008 6:14:01 PM PST by mware (F-R-E-E, that spells free. Free Republic.com baby.)
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To: Maelstorm

Unlike Delaware, where I came here from, the VEA is not a union in the same way as the DSEA. Delaware teachers are unionized, Virginia teachers are not. It is one of the major reasons we are and not DE or MD (there are other counts against both, but we’re talking schools here.)

What grades are your children in and what type of school do they attend?

As rural and poor and backwards (according to many) that Accomac County is, I will pit any 5th grader I know against 5th graders in even the best of the public schools in Delaware.

The VEA looks out for its members, as any professional association should, but it sure as heck doesn’t have the kind of legislative clout in Richmond that the DSEA has in Dover.

I am also anti-union, but I accept the fact there are exceptions to every rule and even some union members are trying to work from within to make changes. However, I do not agree with impugning all of a group, in this case pubic school teachers, because of a particular subset of them.

I have dealt with good teachers and I have dealt with bad teachers, thankfully since I’ve lived in Virginia I have dealt with very few of the latter.


44 posted on 12/18/2008 6:26:30 PM PST by Gabz (Is a sarcasm tag really needed?)
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To: Gabz

That is fair enough but I do believe that the goal should be to eliminate unions as a political force and the only way this is going to happen is if we refuse to pretend that some how most union members don’t tow the line. 67% of them did vote Obama. And 76% of them in 2006 voted Democrat in 2006 which was key in swinging the balance of power. If we do not stop them we are going to find ourselves living in a US that resembles more Venezuela than a free nation. I opt out of public schools and home school my kids though I still am forced to support them against my will through taxes.


45 posted on 12/18/2008 6:36:13 PM PST by Maelstorm (This country was not founded with the battle cry "Give me liberty or give me a government check!")
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To: Cindy

My niece attended her sons (ages 5 & 6) Christmas party at their elementary school today. In looking through the pics she had posted on her myspace page, I noticed one of a tree in the schools hallway. It was covered in handmade paper angels.

I teasingly told my sister that I needed to alert the ACLU since young minds are being corrupted. How refreshing it is to live in one of the reddest counties of a now blue state (NC).

May the blessings of our Lord and Savior be with us all this Christmas season.


46 posted on 12/18/2008 6:50:18 PM PST by Petes Sandy Girl
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To: Cindy; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment

Obama: “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

47 posted on 12/18/2008 6:50:58 PM PST by narses (http://www.theobamadisaster.com/)
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To: Snurple
I have 3rd year electrical apprentices that make more than that.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Apprentices who work a full 40 or more hour week, 50 weeks or more a year, and likely no benefits, sick time, personal holidays, or gold plaited pensions and retirement benefits. They also do dangerous, dirty, wet, cold, or hot work, and are likely to damage their bodies do to contorsions required by the work. If they don't do their work correctly ** 100% ** of the time they could careless kill themselves, their co-workers, or their clients.

Besides all of the above, you actually need to be smart to be an electrician and likely these guys can do fractions, decimals, and percentages.

48 posted on 12/18/2008 8:06:05 PM PST by wintertime
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To: Gabz; Maelstorm
As rural and poor and backwards (according to many) that Accomac County is, I will pit any 5th grader I know against 5th graders in even the best of the public schools in Delaware.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Since were having a contest here, my homeschoolers were in college at the ages of 13, 12, and 13. All finished all general college requirements and Calculus III by the age of 15. The two younger had B.S. degrees in mathematics by the age of 18.

So?....Where's the government school that can do that, Gabz?

49 posted on 12/18/2008 8:10:27 PM PST by wintertime
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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