To Whom it May Concern:
As the parent of three students at two different school in this district, I would like to express some of my growing concerns regarding several things that have happened in the last few months at the schools.
My first cause for concern is the fact that ads endorsing John McCain for president were broadcast throughout the high school on the school's television station, but no corresponding ad were shown for Obama. I understand and support open discussions in classrooms regarding the electoral process and differing political parties. However, just as religion should only be discussed in a historical/social studies context, so should politics. The fact that the school showed ads for only one of the candidates was nothing but a very public endorsement, and that was and is offensive to me. There is no place in a public school for a select group of individuals to tout their political beliefs and attempt to brainwash students into thinking there is only one way to believe. And if any of you had ever taken the marketing class offered in your very own school, you would know that such propaganda does make an impression and supplies name recognition-so whether you publicly said that you endorsed McCain or not, the message was loud and clear.
I also understand that yesterday, Veteran's Day, there was supposed to have been both a short time of acknowledgement in the morning as well as a Veteran's Day assembly, and both were cancelled. Had there suddenly arisen an emergency causing the slated speakers to have to cancel, I would understand that. However, the sudden realization that you scheduled two assemblies for the same week is not cause to cancel; the fact that the football assembly scheduled for today took precedence over honoring our Veteran's both disgusts AND angers me. While I am not intensely interested in Veteran's Day on a personal level, I do know a lot of families that have been and ARE affected, daily, by the absence of loved ones-those who have been killed during military service and those who are fighting in Iraq as we speak. To cancel an assembly honoring these people is nothing but a slap in the face to the families and friends of those people who get up, go to work, and get killed every day in the service of our country. And to cancel it for something so ridiculous as a football assembly? Please.
I know that sports have always been and will continue to be a huge thing in schools; there is little or nothing that I can do to change that. However, if there is enough money for the best coaches and new uniforms and all that comes with it, perhaps the school should also come up with some extra money so that every child who wants to play in the orchestra will be provided an instrument, every child who need to Talented and Gifted program is given the opportunity. If there is enough money to send the entire fleet of school buses to an out-of-town game, there should also be enough money for the elementary classes to take two buses to Boise to tour the Capitol. There are so few opportunities for the non-sports minded, and that makes me angry. It makes no sense to me to see the school wasting such a huge amount of resources on kids who are never going to play anything but high school ball, when instead the same amount of money could be used to foster things like critical thinking, life skills, coping with problems and stress-the tools that are actually going to make a difference to kids when they leave high school and enter the real world.
Another cause for concern is the fact that when my daughter went in to remove herself from the Seminary Class, she was told that she could not get out of the class because 1. she signed up for it, she has to take it and 2. it would mean finding another class for her to take instead. First of all, both the Seminary and the Christian Education buildings are off campus and are not counted as a class, elective or otherwise, so far as the school is concerned. If my daughter does not want to take the class, the school has not authority over that and cannot force her to take it. Second, because they are not affiliated with the school itself and are held prior to the school day beginning, there should be no "extra" work involved in finding another class for her to take. Even if it DID, that is what we are paying the guidance counselors to do.
My daughter has changed her mind about taking the classes because of the LDS church's support in helping Prop 8 pass in California. Our family is militantly for Equal Rights for everyone , and support gay marriage absolutely. If the school is going to tout progressive thinking (which is an obvious misrepresentation) then the school should look into the reasons why my daughter does not want to take this class, and applaud her for taking an unpopular stance in a very LDS/Conservative area. Don't attempt to make her feel guilty and God help you if you force her to take the class. It seems to me that the school has gotten away with offering both the Christian Ed. classes and the Seminary classes off campus and not during school hours, but it seems to me that you are blurring the line between church and state; perhaps in these changing times it is necessary for the school board to get together and decide to cut both of those classes from the slate.
While I certainly expect no response from the members of the board, I would hope that my letter has given you something to think about. I know it won''t make a difference while my two older kids are in high school, but perhaps by time the younger ones get there, it will be a different story.