August 22, 2006

Don't listen to Jason ...

... regarding the Indian River School District. He says the district and several state representatives "have endorsed Christianity as the district's official religion." Of course, along with much of what Jason often utters, this is complete nonsense. He also opines that district constituents should be miffed that the Indian River's board's decision not to settle with the Dobrich and another unnamed family, since it will cost them all money. That may well be. The question is, if the district believes they are in the right -- why should they settle?

All too often, school boards are intimidated into settling religious-oriented lawsuits precisely because of the costs that would be entailed. In one respect, it is refreshing to see a school district not back down. Consider what the News Journal reports on the proposed settlement:

• A policy on religion within school and classroom settings so restrictive that it would have prohibited the mention of "Christmas Break" on district calendars.

• Guidelines on prayer at commencement exercises and baccalaureate ceremonies.

• A multistep complaint procedure for violations of these policies.

Another prong of the settlement would have allowed two children of the second family automatic admission into the district's arts schools -- jumping in front of other children who had applied.

One half of this settlement proposal is easily viewed through any rational lens as a reason for rejecting a settlement. Take the first: Christmas is a nationally recognized holiday. Why therefore should a school district (that is overwhelmingly Christian, by the way) agree to renounce calling the Christmas break ... Christmas break? The last one is obviously objectionable as well. The middle two points of the proposed settlement, on the other hand, are quite agreeable. But if all points must be agreed to in order to reach a settlement, then that's where the problem comes in.

Also, as the reports notes, the district's insurance company never consulted the school district's lawyers about the proposed settlement. Isn't that a bit ... well, weird?

If even some of what the Dobriches have complained about is accurate, they surely deserve some sort of satisfaction from the district. The question is what. And now, it looks as if litigation is going to decide that for all the parties involved.

Previous Colossus coverage on this issue here, here and here.

UPDATE (8/23): Indian River has offered an alternative settlement according to today's News Journal. No specifics on details as of yet.

Posted by Hube at August 22, 2006 08:47 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I had to read all that other stuff to get down to this...

If even some of what the Dobriches have complained about is accurate, they surely deserve some sort of satisfaction from the district. The question is what.

The nuget of truth. I think the district got caught up in the hoopla and put reason on the shelf.


Posted by: jason at August 22, 2006 10:31 PM

...and yes. Taxpayers should be miffed about having to pay for this in two ways. The legal fees and the higher insurance rates.

Posted by: jason at August 22, 2006 10:46 PM

The nuget of truth. I think the district got caught up in the hoopla and put reason on the shelf.

As if all the other stuff is somehow irrelevant. Right.

And I've already pointed out how it isn't unreasonable to not agree with two of the demands of the settlement from the district's POV.

Posted by: Hube at August 23, 2006 07:39 AM