Monday, December 06, 2004

Administrative Buffoonery: Principal Tommy Craft Of Athens, Georgia Reads The New School Prayer

"Dr." Tommy Craft
We don't know the true reason why Prinicipal Tommy Craft read the poem reproduced below over the school's public address system, the Tuesday before the Thanksgiving holiday, but the Associated Press is telling us the Principal is sorry that he did read it. (We bet he is.) His actions have caused an uproar at Cedar Shoals High School, which is located in Athens, Georgia.

The poem itself has been drifting around the internet for several years. You can read its history
New School Prayer

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That's no offense; it's a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.
It's "inappropriate" to teach right from wrong,
We're taught that such "judgments" do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school's a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:Should I be shot;
My soul please take!

Almost immediately after Principal Craft read it over the school's loudspeaker, the parent complaints started. Numerous parents expressed their concerns to both Craft, and Craft's boss, Superintendent Lewis Holloway, who said that he had received "Several calls" about the incident.

"Dr." Craft's explanation was that he wanted to "Provoke thought and discussion" among students.

He accomplished his objective.

The debate over prayer in public schools is a highly emotional one in Georgia. Principal Craft has managed to anger both sides of the subject. Many of those that advocate prayer in the schools thought that Craft was making a mockery of the issue. Those that are opposed to prayer believe that Craft was lampooning their beliefs regarding the separation of church and state.

We don't know what, if anything, Superintendent Holloway may have done to Prinicipal Craft in the way of discipline, as Holloway would not comment, but we can imagine that it probably was not a "pat on the back." Most school administrators live by the maxim, "A quiet school is a good school."

And things certainly were not quiet down in Athens Georgia.