Medina Valley ISD Prayer Issue- Judge Orders Medina Valley ISD to APOLOGIZE to agnostic studentSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Medina Valley ISD Prayer Issue- Judge Orders Medina Valley ISD to APOLOGIZE to agnostic student
 


20 March 2012 at 1:32:33 PM
salon

One of the items that went south and I plan to repost is about Medina Valley ISD graduation prayer issue. Without going through all the details again , basically, this is what happened.

Student sued Medina Valley ISD over planned graduation prayer at Medina Valley ISD. School removed the words benediction and Invocation, but still allowed the valedictorian student to push prayer at the graduation ceremony.

Ruling came down last month to as agreement between student and Medina Valley ISD. Essentially, Medina Valley ISD LOST. You can't go having religious prayer let by the school or students. As Judge Biery ultimately said "What this case has not been about-The right to pray. Any American can pray, silently or verbally, seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, in private as Jesus taught or in large public events as Mohammed instructed". Sometime I may repost some of  his appendix in which he discussed why Medina Valley near Castroville is an ironic place to have a lawsuit regarding separation of church and state.

Part of this agreement said that the district employees would not disparage the plaintiffs.

Guess what. District employees just couldn't keep their big fat mouths shut. So Judge Biery issued a "Non Kumbaya" order telling them to apologize to the Shulzs. Here's that order, from the US Webster District website.

From the Houston Chronicle

Shortly after the deal was announced, the order said, Stansberry gave a televised interview in which he called the lawsuit a "witch hunt" and mistakenly said the plaintiffs "wanted our teachers to stop wearing crosses."

...

Riley, meanwhile, reportedly went on Facebook and posted a comment saying "don't get me started on the lies and false accusations" of former student Corwyn Schultz, whose family filed the suit.

The order issued Monday also said Riley "liked" a comment from a recent graduate proposing that, "There should be a disclaimer after a prayer that says: 'No atheists or anti-religious-activists were harmed in the recitation of this prayer.' "

The district tried to clarify the district employees' actions and comments, and the judge opted not to hold them in contempt, which was requested by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Washington, D.C.-based group whose lawyers filed the suit on behalf of the Schultz family.

...

The judge, in his order, said it appeared the comments were made in the heat of the moment after the settlement was announced. Citing several examples of public officials whose mouths got them in trouble, the judge noted, "silence is golden."

Here's from his order

Non-Kumbaya Order

The Homo Sapien Saga Continues

Before the Court are plaintiffs Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement (docket no 137), defendants response (docket no 138) and plaintiffs reply (docket no 139) to defendant's response. Plaintiffs ask the Court to enforce the settlement agreement and redress recent alleged violations by the Medina Valley Independent School District (MVISD) superintendent and director of the high school marching band (respondents)

On February 9, 2012, the Court approved the parties settlement agreement. Observing the Court would retain jurisdiction to enforce it for the next ten years, the Court urged the parties to "be tolerant of the beliefs of others and abide by the standards they have set for themselves". (Docket no 136 at page 2). To ensure the parties promote respect for and compliance with its terms, the settlement agreement containes a non-disparagement provision "School District Personnel will not disparge the Plaintiffs"

Hours after the Court approved the settlement agremeent, the MVISD superintendent gave a televised interview and, among other things, stated "It is a witch hung- that's all this has been".... The superintendent also inaccurately stated "they wanted our teachers to stop wearing crosses". MVISD responds that the superintendent referred to the lawsuit as a "witch hunt" becuase plaintiffs counsel conducted an "excessively long and harrassing" inspection of the high school. MVISD also reports that the superintendent was under the "mistaken impression that plaintiff's request in the lawsuit to prohit the display of religious objects or symbols included jewelry". IN reply, plaintiffs point out that the lawsuit and plaintiffs are inextricably intertwined.

Guess the superintendent doesn't have reading lawsuits that involve his district as a strong suit.

On February 17, 2012, one of the directors of the high school marching band accessed Facebook. While commenting on the page of a current MVISD student, he said "don't get me started on teh lies and false accusations your friend [referring to Corwyn Schultz] made over last year's issues." Calling someone a liar, if proven, could be actionable libel. In response, the band director invokes truth as a defense.

The band director also "liked" a comment from a recent graduate proposing "There should be a disclaimer after prayer that says "No atheists or anti-religious activists were harmed in the recitation of this prayer". The band director responds that liking a comment on Facebook which "clearly was intended as a joke is not making an affirmative statement, much less a disparaging one".

...

Silence is golden.

Go read his examples.

The Court does not expect the parties to hold hands and sing "Kumbaya" around a campfire beside the Medina River. Nor does the Court expect the respondents superintendent and band director to engage in a public spectacle of self-flagellation for communicating words better left unsaid.

Moreover the Court does not expect plaintiffs to become traditional Trinitarian Christians...

Counsel are hereby ordered to certify to the Court that plaintiffs and respondents superintendent and band director have read this order.

Accordingly respondents are given the opportunity, within ten days of this order to sign the following statement, privately and personally, with delivery to be made to counsel for the Medina Valley Independent School District

"I apologize for statements I made, which were interpreted by plaintiffs as disparaging towards them. I will abide by the Settlement Agreement and Release entered on February 9 2012

If the statements are timely recevied, counsel for Medina Valley Independent School District shall convey the same to Plaintiff's counsel. Plaintiffs, within ten days of notification of respondents signed statements, shall sign, privately and personally, with delivery to plaintiffs counsel

Your apology is accepted. I will abide by the Settlement Agreement and Release entered on Feburary 9, 2012.

.... Finally the Court reminds the parties of the Fifth Amendment to the United State Constitution which provides in part that "no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself" While it is invoked for criminal prosecutions, its underlying premise is instructive for Homo Sapien relationships in general : Trouble does not come from words unspoken, particularly in this age of emails, tweets, cameras and recorders.

 

 

 


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Comments!  
1 - Robert James Burkholder   26 Mar 2012 @ 11:54:34 AM 

I "like" what the former student posted on Facebook. and I find Mr. Riley  clearly did not  violate the very stupid settlement by claiming he "liked" what someone else had written. ONLY in a despotic tyranny could some idiot  claim this constituted any violation of the settlement. IS this Orwells 1984? It seems like it when Judges order an apology and promise to abide by a lopsided  settlement. when a Judge declares it is unconstitutional  for schools to employ --or allow Christian educators to be Christians where they are.There is NO violation of the First amendment if a Christian student  chooses to acknowledge God in a commencement ceremony AND No violation if an educator--or any other shows simply polity in respecting that students God given right to freely express their Religion. There is something terribly un American and despotic when someone says something like They couldnt keep their big Mouth shut."

Where is the freedom of expression. where is there Liberty in being a slave.?



2 - salon   26 Mar 2012 @ 9:04:52 PM 

You're missing a few points here. Both parties agreed to abide by the settlement back in January which included basically keeping their mouths shut and not disparaging anyone. That wasn't just anyone but School District Personnel agreed to this. If you read this last order, you know that the judge agreed that violating that agreement was probably done in the heat of the moment; this could have gone much farther.. AGAIN, and an apology is a simple, elegant solution. School District Personnel were NOT supposed to disparage the plaintiffs and liking a comment that disparages them is included.  If they wanted the chance to diss the plaintiffs, then they shouldn't have agreed to the settlement. (And you realize that the school district lost and is having to pay a lot of money to the AUSCAS ($125,000 in attorneys fees and costs)

Second, this lawsuit has nothing to do with employing christians. Or praying. And had the student chosen to say something for herself without involving all the students, there also would not have been an issue. You obviously have not read the settlement, which provides for students to deliver a private expression. NO ONE STOPS a student from saying a prayer if he or she wants to, but what the valedictorian did was tell everyone to pray with her in a sectarian prayer. That's not American, where there are all kinds of beliefs. The Judge did not say "They couldn't keep their big mouths shut".- I DID. Because they didn't. And it was wrong.

I suggest you read this, because if you're from the Medina Valley, you should read something about the history of your area re: religious freedom.


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