Monday, November 29, 2004

Political Correctism Run Amok Files: Teacher Forbidden To Use Declaration Of Independence: UPDATE

Politically Incorrect?
As the 'Wonks profiled here last Wednesday, Principal Patricia Vidmar, of Stevens Creek School, is apparently prohibiting fifth-grade teacher Steve Williams from using The Declaration Of Independence and other documents from the Revolutionary period as teaching aids in history class. According to Williams, this is because the documents reference God.

This evening, William's appeared on the Hannity and Colmes show. (Fox News) Also appearing was one of the attorney's that is representing Williams. According to Williams, it all started when a student questioned him about the Flag Pledge. The same day, a parent complained about the "under God" clause in the Pledge.

At this point, Principal Vidmar began monitoring Williams, and requiring that any materials mentioning God be submitted to her (in advance) for approval.

Sean Hannity requested clarification about handouts and the submission of lesson plans. According to Williams, the principal began requiring the submission of teaching aids after "a handful" of parents complained about "God" being included in the documents. The principal then barred use of the papers, because the documents were of "a religious nature."

The 'Wonks contacted Stevens Creek School and The Cupertino Union School District. Both declined to comment on the matter.

The Cupertino Union School District has released this statement (via Fox)

"The district...believes that well-established constitutional principles relating to the separation of church and state must prevail. The district has not violated the constitutional rights of Mr. Williams or any other person. The district denies the allegations in the complaint and has referred the case to its attorneys."

Essentially, Williams re-affirmed the versions of this story that have been published the last few days. The District's statement is what it appears to be.

It is a note written by lawyers for lawyers.

We here at the 'Wonks are very interested in this story. Here in California, districts have traditionally had the right to implement (and exclude) whichever curriculum they choose. This is done under the general supervision of the district's superintendent.

We will continue to update this story as conditions warrant.