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Bossier School Board issues statement, passes resolution in response to ACLU demand letter

Courtesy Photo | Bossier Parish School Board

The Bossier Parish School Board has issued the following statement in response to a demand letter sent by the ACLU last week in regards to religious activity at Airline High School. The statement was issued and read aloud at the school board’s regular session meeting, following an executive session legal counsel. BPSB for school web#3F3AE0E

The full  statement is as follows:

     The Bossier Parish School Board is committed to honoring the state and federal law as it relates to the rights of all students, regardless of their religious beliefs. Within the last week, the ACLU has complained about alleged practices at Airline High School relative to prayer, the principal’s monthly messages, prayer boxes and the content of the school’s website. The system has also received Freedom Guard’s open response to the ACLU’s allegations and legal analysis.

     The Board’s counsel has investigated the allegations raised by the ACLU and found them to be without a factual or legal basis. At the same time, the Board wishes to publicly reaffirm its intent to operate a successful school district in which equal access is recognized and the legal rights of all students are respected, including those of its students who wish to engage in student-lead, student-initiated religious expression.

     This statement is being entered into the official minutes of this Board and released to the press. Copies are being sent to the Governor, the State Superintendent of Education, members of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Executive Director of the Louisiana School Board Association as such persons and entities, along with the members of our school communities and parents, are stake-holders in our school system.

     The Board and its administration welcome meaningful discussion of this and any issue but will base their decisions on the law and facts as they know them to exist. Decisions in the best interest of our students can never result from threats and intimidation.

The Bossier Parish School Board unanimously passed a resolution at its Oct. 1 regular session meeting, following an executive session with its legal counsel, that says the school district respects and seeks to preserve the constitutional rights of all its students and employees.

Resolution Pronouncing to the Citizens of Bossier Parish and Louisiana:

– Bossier Parish Schools respect and comply with federal and state laws
– Bossier Parish Schools respect and seek to preserve the constitutional rights of all its students and employees

Whereas, the Bossier Parish School Board is committed to respecting and conforming to the provisions of our federal and state constitutions and laws; and

Whereas, the Bossier Parish School Board recognizes and embraces its responsibility to respect and conform to the provisions of our federal and state constitutions and laws as they pertain to the fundamental rights of students and employees to engage in free speech and the free exercise of religion; and

Whereas, the Bossier Parish School Board recognizes that religious liberty is the “first freedom” guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution, and that our history and tradition respect the “freedom of religion,” not the “freedom from religion;”

Now therefore be it resolved that the Bossier Parish School Board does hereby proclaim to the citizens of Bossier Parish, the citizens of the State of Louisiana, and to freedom-loving Americans everywhere that in Bossier Parish schools the constitutional and statutory rights of students to engage in student-led, student-initiated religious expression shall be respected, allowed and defended; and

Be it further resolved, that the Bossier Parish School Board does hereby proclaim that in Bossier Parish schools the principles of equal access shall be respected, allowed and defended for all appropriately recognized religious student organizations; and

Be it further resolved that this resolution be entered in the official minutes of this Board, with copies being sent to the Governor, the State Superintendent of Education, members of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, all members of the Louisiana Legislature, the President and Superintendent of every Louisiana School Board, the executive director of the Louisiana School Board Association, all public education stakeholder organizations/associations, all declared 2015 candidates for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Louisiana gubernatorial race, state representative races, state senate races, presidents or chairmen of every Louisiana parish government, Chamber of Commerce offices in Louisiana and all schools in Bossier Parish.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Will Principal Rowland cease the religious tripe in his communications via offical avenues? Because THAT is the issue at hand. The claim of infringement upon students’ rights is fallacious.

    Students have always been free to exercise their religious beliefs (and some still even manage to graduate, I’m sure). The school board is being misled by Freedom Guard insomuch as Principal Rowland’s innapproriate actions are being comingled with the rights of the students.

    Brickbats to the “adults” that are using the students as religious shields.

  2. It’s not that the principle isn’t a ‘nice guy’ by signing his letters that way, or doesn’t ‘care’. It’s just that, well, is ILLEGAL for him to express himself religiously while being the face of the school. Have a nice day would get the same point across. I’m sure the non Christian, non bible thumping kids have it hard enough navigating thru a school in the bible belt without having to feel like even the people in charge are shoving their “truths” down their throats.

  3. If you don’t live in bossier parish then we could care less how you think or feel. This is our community and it will be ran the way we say. If you don’t like it too bad your going to have to deal with it. Complain all you want, but more importantly try to get a life and worry about your own community. We are just fine down here!

  4. The Politically Correct stuff needs to stop! If he was openly gay there would be no complaint. The same people saying he should not do this would then commend him for putting little rainbows in his letters / communications. He would all of the sudden become the “persecuted” You guys would never once see the light of day that he should not do that either. Stop pandering to every wussy group that sounds off they are offended. Is the guy an elected official? Probably not! He is a “hired” principal all be it in a public school system. I don’t agree that this is somehow a separation of church and state issue. Though seems to be what is being leaned toward. I bet the kids that go to this school are exposed to much worse than they are being protected from. Grow up and concentrate on some proactive protection from somethng truly evil. And know he is not the face of the school the resulting children are. I have seen some schools with terrible principals that have a great “face” because of the children. People like you would attack anything that makes common sense and make it bend to ridiculous beaurcratic garbe in the name of hyper correctness. As for what truths he shoves down their throats. I would say it is parental responsiblity to guide the child. Ex. My children are exposed to all sorts of beliefs and behaviors at school to which we as parents guide them through while they make their own decisions what to believe. They do not need the ACLU to do that job for them. Teaching is relationship of discernment. When discernment does not have vast array of both bad and good to draw from how in the heck does a child learn right from wrong. So whether you view what he does as bad or good. Mind your own business and guide your child into adulthood and stop focusing on being devisive over silly stuff.

  5. Why doesn’t the ACLU send a letter to their precious Obama, who says god bless america after every speech. Is he shoving religion down the throats of your kids? No, it’s what our country is based on. Believing in something greater than ourselves.

  6. As a born U.S. citizen, I applaud the BPSB for standing up for what is religiously, morally, and constitutonally right . The BPSB has created an example for all school systems to follow.

  7. I commend the School Board for taking this position. The Constitution never says “separation of church and state”. That is an interpretation of what the Constitution actually says. The actual language is that the state shall not establish a religion. Not the same intent, the framers of the Constitution were all Christians, and God was featured in every official action they took, they just wanted to assure that people of other religions had the opportunity to practice their belief without persecution. How has that come around to the persecution of anyone who wants to practice their faith?

  8. More school districts need to take a stand for religious freedom . When it was taken out of our schools after I graduated, the schools and country have fallen morally. We need to teach more about God in comparative religions class to get back to the basics of our forefathers and not have Islam in its entirety shoved down our children’s minds like in a Ga. school and others. We are founded on Christianity and there is no reason why it cannot be in schools in the right way. Students who object do not have to be involved. Thanks for your stand in La. Others need to follow suite to save our children and country.

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