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We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb
There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet. ~Brooke Medicine Eagle

Nov. 24th, 2004 @ 10:22 am School Board rejects a comparative religion class...
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Board rejects comparative religion class

by Diana Mota Morgan
Staff Writer
Nov. 24, 2004

Several Frederick County school board members earlier this month voted to oppose offering a comparative religion course for fear that students would be exposed to witchcraft and Satanism.

"I don't think that's the kind of course we want to provide," said board member Daryl A. Boffman. "I don't think we should introduce those elements to students. It may encourage them to look into it further. I don't want the school system to be the spark."

Board members voted 4-2-1 at their Nov. 10 planning session to oppose the measure. Boffman, Bonnie M. Borsa, Linda S. Naylor and Jean A. Smith opposed the measure; Michael E. Schaden and Kathryn B. Groth supported it; Donna J. Crook abstained.

"I was kind of surprised and disappointed," said Schaden, who proposed offering the course. "Board members were more concerned about what might be taught rather than the benefits of the class."

Schaden said he hoped the course would promote diversity and tolerance.

Boffman said he attended the meeting with an open mind."Most of us were interested in taking a look at it, myself included," he said, adding his comfort level dropped after reviewing textbooks that referenced witchcraft, Satanism and animal sacrifices. "The value of the course didn't outweigh the detriment it would have on the school system," Boffman said.

Smith said she felt the school system already teaches students about diversity in other programs and classes, including history and social studies. She opposed the class for two reasons, she said.

"There was nobody saying we want this class," Smith said. "Usually when a class is generated, a teacher wants it or a school wants it or there are kids who want it. We don't have any idea if there was interest."

Smith said she did not want to use school system resources to develop a curriculum if no one wanted the class.

And after hearing the topics that the course could cover, Smith said she felt the class would be more appropriate at the college level. "Who's going to draw the line [regarding content]?" Smith asked.

According to Michael Bunitsky, social studies curriculum specialist, the school board draws the line when it comes to curriculum. Ultimately, the board decides whether to approve curriculum, he said.

Borsa said she opposed the class because it is not the board's place to create curriculum."I don't think it's the role of the board to dictate courses and curriculum," Borsa said. "It should come from the school, the teachers and the students."

Crook said she abstained, because the board's discussion raised more questions than answers.

"The discussion was in theory," she said. "It was all about 'what if.' The more discussion we had the more questions we had about what the course would be, who would teach the course, what religions would be taught. I didn't necessarily think it was a bad thing. But it wasn't all worked out."

OK..here's my question...what do ya'll think about this. I've read a bunch of ideas on the witchvox site where I got this, and I agree with both sides. What do *YOU* think.
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Date:November 24th, 2004 10:39 am (UTC)
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Wow so many different points made. First I have to give a bit of background. Here in Canada we have separation of church and state. They can -not- teach religion in any way in the public schooling system. There are private schools that you can chose to send your children to however that do provide that in their schools. I grew up in the school system before it was fully in place. And I remember how the Jehovas Witness children were rediculed because they would not say the lords prayer with the rest of the class. I also remember how little it meant to the kids and to myself because it was just motions you went through. Saying the lords prayer before classes every morning meant nothing. Just like going to church at that age, it did not mean much to me because I really did not understand it. I was just doing as I was told. Singing the songs I was supposed to sing. Reading the prayer books.

I support the move they made to take religion out of the public school system for a couple reasons. The only religion they were teaching was christianity. I agree with Neo that if they are going to teach one they should teach them all. Some parents may not like this. But then understand the reason they would be offended. You are opening up their childs mind. If any parent out there would have a problem with that, then they are likely the same ones out there teaching their kids to not be tolerant of other religions.

But at the same time this is a very sensative topic. It needs to be handled properly. I do not think that elementary students are mature enough to really appreciate it. Perhaps highschool or college would be a better place to offer the class and it should be ellective. Peoples views and oppinions should not be forced. They should be shaped. And even though a lot of good could come from this class in teaching tolerance, if you force students to take it, you are no better than the systems that were in place before forcing Christianity on everyone.

Content would be a big concern. There are a lot of things in the history of some religions that just wouldn't be appropriate to teach to a 15 year old. But this is no reason to not form a class. There are plenty of aspects that can be made age appropriate. It just means you need to take some extra steps in really choosing what would be best to teach at the various age levels.

Oh and this comment -Smith said she felt the school system already teaches students about diversity in other programs and classes, including history and social studies. -.............Pointless. Teaching diversity in two other courses does not mean that that person will learn to be tolerant in all other areas of life. Unless those courses already do touch on the different religions, History and social studies have no bearing on this.

So lets take stock here......Looks like I agree...with everyone! LOL But overall it should be done. There is too much to gain from this to shy away because it might not be PC or some people won't like it. Make it ellective and get over it. *grins*