American Humanist Association Sues Missouri School for Serving Donuts!
by Temerity Forthright
The American Humanist Association (AHA), based in Washington, DC, is suing a Missouri middle school for serving donuts.
The AHA alleges that a middle school in Joplin, Missouri, serves donuts as a “bribe” to get students to attend a Bible Study held before classes begin. According to AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, “Enticing students to Bible Study with donuts is deceitful and inappropriate during school hours.”
The Bible Study takes place before school starts, not during school hours. Also, students are free to attend – or not attend – since there is no link to the school’s curriculum or academic grades. The initial complaint was made by a parent who is a member of the AHA and has two children who attend North Middle School in Joplin, Missouri.
Just the idea that the promise of a donut is enough to bribe a middle school student to attend any activity he or she would not normally attend is absurd.
This is not the AHA’s first complaint with Joplin Schools. In 2015, the AHA filed suit challenging the Joplin Public School District for sending students from the same middle school on an “unconstitutional field trip to a religious sports complex.”
In order for students to attend that field trip to the Victory Ministries and Sports Complex they needed to have a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian. The permission slip stated the purpose of the field trip and informed the student’s family what the field trip would include.
That case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
Both suits were filed based on the Establishment Clause of the Constitution which prohibits Congress from making any law respecting the “establishment of religion.” The second part of the clause, however, states that Congress shall make no law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The AHA must have also missed the part of the Bill of Rights protecting the freedom of religion.
Also missing from the AHA’s legal repertoire is the 1969 Supreme Court decision Tinker v Des Moines. Four children of the Tinker family and a friend, ages 16 to 8, decided to wear black armbands to their respective schools in December 1968 to protest the Vietnam War. The Des Moines School District Board met to create a new policy prohibiting students from wearing armbands to school in response to learning of the upcoming protest. The three oldest students were suspended from school for wearing their arm bands.
The Tinker v Des Moines case went all the way to the Supreme Court. In February 1969, the court ruled 7-2 that the First Amendment right to free speech applies to students and teachers in public schools.
AHA’s legal director David Niose wrote in a letter regarding the middle school’s Bible Study, “It is unimaginable that the school would have sent its students to a complex that promoted Islam, Scientology or another minority religion in a similar way.”
Apparently Niose is unaware of all the public schools that have promoted Islam.
Recently, a Tampa, Florida, 5th grade classroom had a Muslim woman wearing a hijab as a guest speaker who taught the class that Allah is the one true god. Parents did not have prior notification of that event, students didn’t need a permission slip to attend, nor could they opt out.
Or is Niose also unaware that the same Tampa school district invited members of the Muslin terrorist-affiliated group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) to make presentations to their high school social studies classes.
Or the 7th grade history program at Excelsior Middle School in California that required students to “become a Muslim” for three weeks. They had to choose a Muslim name, recite Muslim prayers, and wear Muslim robes. Parents filed a lawsuit against the school district, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in favor of the Byron Unified School District. The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the appeal, in part because the lower court ordered that its opinion not be published!
Or the Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach, California, that had to apologize to parents for an “Islamic fight song” that a teacher made her 7th grade social studies students sing just days before the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris.
Or that on September 28, 2016, the Kansas City (Missouri) Public Schools Board of Education adopted a resolution “Condemning violence and hate speech and expressing support for Muslim students and those perceived as Muslim.” What about expressing support for Christian and Jewish students whose beliefs are restricted on a regular basis? FYI: Kansas City schools are now on “Winter Break.”
Or the La Plata, Maryland, high school that in 2014 made students recite the Shahada, or Muslim Creed. A lawsuit brought by parents filed in federal court alleged that the classroom instruction taught that the Islamic religion is a fact, while Christianity and Judaism are beliefs, that Islam is a peaceful religion that has treated conquered nations with respect, and that Jihad is a religious duty involving spiritual discipline. One of the parents who brought the lawsuit was banned from coming on school property for any reason.
Or the 7th graders in Youth Middle School’s social studies class near Atlanta, Georgia, who were taught the Five Pillars of Islam, a creed one must learn to convert to Islam. The students were also taught that Allah is the same God worshipped by Christians.
Or the Nashville, Tennessee, high school that took students on a field trip to a mosque and a Hindu temple. The field trip did not include a visit to a synagogue or a church. To make matters worse, students who went on the trip were given a copy of the Koran, while the students who opted out were given a worksheet that alleged Muslims treat conquered people better than the U.S. treats minorities. Students who went to the Mosque were given punch and cookies (but no donuts).
Did the AHA file lawsuits against any of these schools? NO!
All the lawsuits and complaints were filed by parents of the students who were forced to learn about Islam at the expense of Christianity. And these students were taught about the religion of Islam by teachers as part of their school’s approved curriculum.
Participation in Joplin’s North Middle School Bible Study group is voluntary and takes place before school starts. This is one of many groups and clubs at the school. I bet other groups and clubs offer refreshments, too!
So, is this really about giving a student a donut, or is there a more sinister agenda here?