When Howell High School’s homosexual student club hung the official “gay pride” flag in the school’s main stairwell to protest voter approval of the Marriage Protection Amendment, Howell school board members ignored parents’ protests and officially approved the display, even holding a flag dedication ceremony.
The same school board arrogantly refuses to allow displays of the national motto of the United States: “In God We Trust.”
Please support Howell parents taking a stand for their families and family values by expressing your opinion:
Howell Public Schools
DAILY PRESS & ARGUS
October 12, 2005
School officials cool to LOVE’s pitch
by Christopher Nagy
For the foreseeable future, the matter of displaying the national motto in school buildings is not an issue the Howell Public Schools Board of Education intends to address.
A group of community activists, meanwhile, hasn’t giving up pushing the district to consider the matter.
In June, members from the Livingston Organization for Values in Education Ã¢â‚¬â€ or LOVE Ã¢â‚¬â€ offered the district a framed copy of the phrase “In God We Trust” to display in its administrative offices and offered to provide the district with enough copies of the motto to display in every classroom.
The district begged off on both offers, but the group is still pursuing the district to change its mind. Several members of LOVE attended the board’s Sept. 26 meeting to ask the district to reconsider its position on the issue, and Tom Mallon, a member of LOVE’s publicity committee, said the group is in a “holding pattern” right now to see if the district addresses the issue, which will determine the next step LOVE will take.
Howell Superintendent Charles Breiner said the group might be in for a long wait.
From the indications he has Ã¢â‚¬â€ or rather has not Ã¢â‚¬â€ received from school board members, the district doesn’t have any plans to engage LOVE members in a dialogue about the matter.
LOVE member Vicki Fyke asked the board Monday when the board took action in turning down LOVE’s request for the motto to be placed in schools, but Breiner said no such official action has ever been taken. The board has chosen not to make the issue an action item on its agenda, so no vote has ever been made, and Breiner said he hasn’t been given any signals that the board wants the items on its agenda.
“I think generally the board has decided, so far, not to make that an action item,” he said.
At its meeting in June, when LOVE first approached the school board, school board President Mary Jo Dymond said the district wasn’t going to respond to the offer in order to avoid possible litigation.
Mallon, on the other hand, said court opinions have always fallen in favor of the display of such mottos, viewing them as patriotic, not religious. That, he added, is the view of “In God We Trust” for LOVE, and noted that the motto would be beneficial for student discussion in such areas as civics, U.S. history and as an example of historical documentation.
“A vast number of educational issues could arise from the posting of the national motto,” he said.
In a letter to the Daily Press & Argus, Mallon asked Breiner and the school board to open up the issue to public discourse.
“To state that you are against or have no interest in providing a debate-forum seems comical considering the fact that you have supported and continue to defend the gay-pride flag currently being used as the Diversity Club’s symbol regardless of the plethora of ‘significant debate’ and division it has generated not only in the school but in the community as a whole,” Mallon wrote.
In a letter to the editor published in July, LOVE member Jason Woolford outlined the mission of the organization, which was formed in May.
Woolford said the group consists of “concerned parents, students, and community members who are pro-family and pro-children. … We have adopted, approved and support the following as the values we mean when we talk about supporting traditional family values: true diversity, civil rights, not special rights; student health and safety, promotion of lifestyle choices and behaviors that protect the mental, physical and emotional health of our children as students; traditional marriage, one man and one woman; personal integrity … honesty … patriotism.”