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12 Washington State High School Students Suspended for Public Prayer Group
LifeSiteNews.com ^ | March6, 2007 | Gudrun Schultz

Posted on 03/07/2007 7:48:42 AM PST by csistrueblue

12 Washington State High School Students Suspended for Public Prayer Group

By Gudrun Schultz

VANCOUVER, Washington, March 6, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A number of students who formed an interdenominational prayer group at a Washington state high school were expelled by the administration last week over their refusal to hold a morning prayer session in a closed room, The Columbian reported March 2.

Twelve students at Heritage High School in Vancouver, WA, were suspended last Friday after continuing to meet for morning prayer in the commons area of the school, despite a faculty order that they stop causing physical "disruption" to student traffic with public prayer.

To express concerns, contact:

Heritage High School 7825 NE 130th Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98682

Phone: (360) 604-3400

Principal: Anne Sosky asosky@egreen.wednet.edu


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: freedomofspeech; schoolprayer
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To: RockinRight

I agree!


101 posted on 03/07/2007 10:24:34 AM PST by Froufrou
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To: csistrueblue

Its a sad commentary on our culture.....the dark side uses political correctness against the good guys.

I hope that school district has a sizable legal fees budget.


102 posted on 03/07/2007 10:30:59 AM PST by Halgr (Once a Marine, always a Marine - Semper Fi)
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To: GovernmentShrinker
That passage is generally interpreted to mean that one should not engage in prayer with the intent of impressing others

It seems to me that's exactly what they are doing. "The prayer circle’s purpose is visibility..."
103 posted on 03/07/2007 10:35:16 AM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: moneypenny

But how God centered is this country? I believe,personal opinion,people who call themselves Christians are not at all Christians. For the most part! When millions of children killed every day through abortion,even outside the womb,where is the screaming outcry for the deaths of these children. I mean we are talking about millions of children. And then of course we have the homosexual agenda that is thriving quite well. How many Christian churches today are now condoning both of these issues, I mean sins, as no big deal! Little by little Christians are being persecuted for a more ecumenical faith of whatever.And the result abortion and homosexuals getting married and how many people take sacred vows to marry over and over.As far as Muslims praying and Christians praying in the common areas,would they be treated the same? No because this country is more about putting Christians in the back of the room. Why I think is because they are afraid of the Muslims either through lawsuits or terror attacks or they do not like the truth that Jesus was about.When the apostles went out to preach look what happened to them. I am afraid that one day we too will be in that same situation. Maybe not lions but hey we are getting pretty good at the whole mercy killing thing.lol In other words people may think little things effecting the faith of Christians is no big deal but they are.Little by little things happen over time and people get used to them and then we ask how did this happen.


104 posted on 03/07/2007 10:36:29 AM PST by red irish (Gods Children in the womb are to be loved too!)
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To: itsahoot
No and you probably won't, wonder why that is? Go check out a few schools Stone, there are several shortcomings in your understanding of the public school process.

I see - you just assume facts that aren't in the record. Well, it's easy to argue based on that. Do you not believe that if other groups were allowed to meet there, that those students wouldn't have mentioned it? Or that Life Site News wouldn't have mentioned it?
105 posted on 03/07/2007 10:38:38 AM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: GovernmentShrinker
We don't know that that has been the policy in the past; though I'm sure administrators are now prohibiting other groups from meeting there..

You don't think any of the 12 students would have mentioned it if it was? It's not like they were shy about talking about other issues.
106 posted on 03/07/2007 10:39:51 AM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: Biblebelter

I would think punishment. It shows up in their school records and may effect their choices for colleges...


107 posted on 03/07/2007 10:40:21 AM PST by John123 (Dick Morris predicts Hitlery will be the worst president ever... I will now light myself on fire)
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To: itsahoot

hmmm.... maybe not... : )


108 posted on 03/07/2007 10:41:22 AM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: GovernmentShrinker

Of course there was public preaching,look at John the Baptist.And if I remember right Jesus was quite fond of him and did not say anything negative of he did. Of course he lost his head! And what about all the multitudes Jesus preached to.


109 posted on 03/07/2007 10:52:05 AM PST by red irish (Gods Children in the womb are to be loved too!)
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To: csistrueblue

The tragedy of the commons lies not so much in the loss of the commons but in its possession.


110 posted on 03/07/2007 10:59:37 AM PST by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: csistrueblue

Why FReep'em. The Kids were wrong. If their intent was to pray...they had the opportunity to do so.

It appears that their intent was vain.


111 posted on 03/07/2007 11:10:42 AM PST by VaBthang4 ("He Who Watches Over Israel Will Neither Slumber Nor Sleep")
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To: Stone Mountain

But the visibility, in this case, is aimed at making participation easier for shy kids who might hesitate to go to an assigned room to participate in a formal club activity. Doing this as an informal activity in a public place makes it easy for the hesitant to "sort of" participate, tentatively, hanging around the edges briefly, etc. It's often difficult for kids to join a new peer group in high school, even though many want to. Many fear rejection and some have actually been rejected when they tried. In a big public high school, many students who've been part of the mainstream school culture may imagine religious students to be very judgmental, and imagine that going to a formal group meeting would involve being lectured about sex, clothing, etc. or being pressured to participate in confessional type "sharing" discussions, or to declare religious commitment in a specific way.

I'm just not convinced that a dozen or even 2-3 dozen students standing around for a few minutes before school starts, in what must be the massive cafeteria of a 2200 student school, are being disruptive in any way, to "traffic" or anything else. And if they're not being disruptive, there's no need to push them into an assigned room. I'm just picturing the ordinary scenes around a large public high school shortly before classes begin, and the huge number of kids invariably roaming or hanging around in public areas, and I just can't picture how this group could be disruptive unless they were parked smack in the middle of a hallway and refusing to let people by, or praying at the top of their lungs to drown out normal conversation.


112 posted on 03/07/2007 11:55:43 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: csistrueblue

We had one of these at my high school. Totally voluntary and not faculty organized. As an Atheist, I don't see what this principal's problem is.


113 posted on 03/07/2007 11:58:15 AM PST by Zeroisanumber (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: Zeroisanumber

> As an Atheist, I don't see what this principal's problem is.

Try reading post #71, especially the last bit quoted below:

“They’re in the middle of a very busy area, grouped together, so others couldn’t get around,” he said. “Other kids cannot avoid it. That’s not appropriate, whether they’re praying or whatever they’re doing.”


114 posted on 03/07/2007 12:00:35 PM PST by voltaires_zit (Government is the problem, not the answer.)
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Comment #115 Removed by Moderator

To: csistrueblue

Didn't Jesus say something about praying out of doors?


116 posted on 03/07/2007 1:20:55 PM PST by gcruse ("The question is whether or not you would want your kids sitting next to ( or "socializing" with) th)
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Comment #117 Removed by Moderator

To: Froufrou

Actually, they were denied ANY meeting location on campus. In this case, the students (who are allowed in the cafeteria before school anyway) decided to sit together and pray - I guess that was offensive to the Satanist student who turned them in...




Students at one Washington State public school suspended for praying
Allie Martin OneNewsNow.comMarch 7, 2007
http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/03/students_at_one_washington_sta.php

Mathew D. Staver, founder of the pro-family legal group Liberty Counsel, says a lawsuit is possible against officials at a Washington State high school that suspended 12 Russian immigrant students because they gathered to pray before school.

Several weeks ago, administrators at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Washington, denied a request from Christian students to start a prayer club. The students, who were not allowed to meet for prayer in a private room, instead gathered before school in the cafeteria to pray; however, they were reported by a student who claims to be a Satanist.

The school's vice principal then told the Christian students they could not pray in the cafeteria and would have to go outside. The Christian students refused and were suspended, some for three days and others for ten days. Staver says the students' constitutional rights were violated.

"It's absolutely outrageous that the school allowed one Satanist student to exercise a heckler's veto over the other students' speech," the Liberty Counsel spokesman observes. "The situation underscores the ignorance of the school officials, and what Liberty Counsel has now done is issued a demand letter, demanding immediate action by the school to allow these students to be reinstated."

Staver notes that most of the students suspended were Russian immigrants who "came to America assuming that America was the land of the free and the home of the brave -- assuming that they would have religious liberty." But instead they were greeted "with religious persecution and discrimination; and so this situation needs to be remedied immediately," he asserts.

Liberty Counsel is providing legal assistance to the students who were suspended. Staver says a lawsuit will be filed this week if school officials do not reverse their decision.


118 posted on 03/07/2007 2:10:01 PM PST by TheBattman (I've got TWO QUESTIONS for you....)
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To: Ramius

But there is the rub - who and what decides what "obstruct" means. In this case, from what I have heard and read, there was no obstruction. The praying students were just in a public location in the cafeteria which is perfectly acceptable at that school. The problem is that they chose to pray. Apparently, that is the crime of "obstructing" traffic - they were VISIBLE.


119 posted on 03/07/2007 2:13:03 PM PST by TheBattman (I've got TWO QUESTIONS for you....)
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To: MortMan

Some pretty conflicting reports in this case going around - one says they were asked to use a "closed" room (which in most schools would be a no-no unless they had a faculty adviser. But this being a prayer group, I don't know if that would be allowed...

While other reports say that they had REQUESTED a room to use and were denied the use of a room.

Something is wrong - and as my distrust of public schools is rather strong (and I teach at a public school!), I tend to not trust the administration in this case.


120 posted on 03/07/2007 2:16:02 PM PST by TheBattman (I've got TWO QUESTIONS for you....)
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To: csistrueblue

Not surprising considering that the Puget Sound region is known to be the least religious area in the U.S. Another badge of shame for Washington State.


121 posted on 03/07/2007 2:18:58 PM PST by Vicki (Washington State where anyone can vote .... illegals, non-residents or anyone just passing through)
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To: GovernmentShrinker

I agree with most of what you say. But you can't make an exception for one group, no matter who they happen to be. Other groups will want to meet in the Commons area too. Even if it isn't disruptive now, the end result of letting one group meet there will be.


122 posted on 03/07/2007 2:40:50 PM PST by Stone Mountain
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To: Stone Mountain

Possibly, and it would make sense to issue a blanket policy if and when that happens. Frankly I doubt it would, because the more groups meeting there at the same time, the fewer would find it a suitable place. It seems to be working for the prayer group now, but I imagine if a couple dozen other groups were all meeting there at the same time, including some loudly debating groups, they'd choose another spot. I have to think, though, that the cafeteria in a school this large, could accommodate quite a lot of students without any interference in "traffic" or other school operations. I mean how on earth do they manage the "traffic" problem at lunchtime??


123 posted on 03/07/2007 3:00:17 PM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: csistrueblue

ping


124 posted on 03/10/2007 6:34:22 AM PST by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid!)
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To: voltaires_zit

Wonder if they take the same approach to football players, cheerleaders, band members and others who travel enmasse?

A common area is not a hallway. If there was enough room for them to move "further back" it's not a hallway.

My niece experience something similar a few years ago. The high school she attended was participating in the Meet Me at the Flag Pole, which started 45 minutes before school. Some of the staff complained that a prayerful show of solidarity was some how offensive to students and teachers who were not of a like mind. The PC principal went along...


125 posted on 03/12/2007 9:32:45 AM PDT by Jaded ("I have a mustard- seed; and I am not afraid to use it."- Joseph Ratzinger)
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To: Jaded

> The PC principal went along...

Then he was wrong and should have been called on it.

The right to pray doesn't include, though, the right to impede others going about their business anymore than the right to peaceably assemble gives the left wing kooks the right to shut down traffic on a busy street.


126 posted on 03/12/2007 9:47:24 AM PDT by voltaires_zit (Government is the problem, not the answer.)
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