"Safe Habor" Model
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This issue is archived.


The LISD school board accepted the State Model with a few modifications.


The Texas Schoolchildren’s Religious Liberties/Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act (RVAA) was written by the Texas Legislature and signed into law By Governor Rick Perry earlier this year  to reinforce several Supreme court rulings on religious freedom.   A good article from Sue Richardson explains from a traditional viewpoint the value of the RVAA.  It was written to be broad in order to protect religious view points in Texas schools.  As I understand it, Some typical examples that it would protect would be the ability for students to bring a Bible to campus, have after school meeting, to be able to express God in viewpoints and assignments .  That is, if asked "What is Easter?" then the student's answer that included the "Celebration of Jesus Christ rising from the dead" would not be deemed unworthy as it has been viewed in recent history - instead it would be judged on form and structure according to standards.


Each School district board will have to rule on this by September 1, 2007.  The Lewisville Independent School District will be making a ruling on Wednesday August 29, 2007 at the 8:30 AM meeting.  The Agenda (see page 18 thru 24 of the 103 page pdf document) has a few changes to the Model proposed by the State.  They define a few areas more precisely even though  there is Texas Education Agency (TEA) Correspondence (See the URL) to the Texas Association of School Board (TASB) that discourages such changes.


I would like the LISD board to accept the State Model as it is written.  The State model is protected by law and any other version may be open to scrutiny and lawsuits.  Basically, the Texas Attorney General will defend the State Version.


Sue Richardson of Irving: Let them pray
Support of Legislature's rule on free speech
DMN on Sunday, August 19, 2007,

Written by Sue Richardson.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s day of infamy was December 8, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. School children’s day of infamy was June 25, 1962, when the Supreme Court attacked our children’s religious freedom. In one of the most irresponsible opinions ever handed down, it upheld atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s separation of church and state petition to ban prayer from our schools.

This year, Gov. Rick Perry supported the work of our representatives and signed into law the Texas Schoolchildren’s Religious Liberties/Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act. However, the battle is not over; it is now local, with each school district’s school board.

The Texas Association of School Boards is offering an alternative policy to be adopted by Texas school districts that is more restrictive and limiting than the "Safe Harbor" model offered by the Texas Legislature. In an attempt to continue 45 years of religious oppression, The TASB waters down the intent of the new law.

Most Americans agree, the fallout from Ms. O’Hair’s work has been far-reaching and had the most profoundly devastating and ungodly effects on our nation and moral decline of any one act by any one person in our history. Excluding or limiting freedom to express religious views serves no good purpose. What was once the understood norm in a country founded "under God," — and by God — has become a matter of "political correctness." How sad!

What is even sadder is that because of that oppressive decision in favor of an atheist who claims no soul, we lost our soul. For 45 years now, it is not been politically correct to speak of evil, sin or right vs. wrong. Even the churches have been rendered silent in movements to call wrong right.

Many believe that unholy Supreme Court decision has been complicit in undermining the values responsible for our nation being the greatest the world has even known. When we taught our children that we are no longer a nation of prayer in everything we do, we limited God, and, like many of the unfaithful in scripture, have suffered the consequences, and so have several generations of children.

Our founders never intended for God to be removed from our schools or our children’s speech. I was devastated when that decision came down in 1962. "How did that happen?" I asked. "Where were the churches?" Well, for the most part, churches were silent and so were Christians. I think we trembled in fear, much like Christ’s disciples when he was crucified. Or maybe we were at ease and simply stood by and allowed it to happen as we watched the case appealed from one court to the next, and then stood a nation in shock when the decision was handed down.

I often have thought that was one of those times when we were so sure that God would take care of it — and were so sure that someone else would do it — that we forgot that we are all his hands and feet, and we are that someone. If not us, then who? He depends on each and every one of us to stand in the gate and guard his kingdom and speak out in behalf of righteousness against wrongdoing. We should have done something, and we did nothing.

The Legislature is giving us a second chance, but there has been little mention of it in the media, so I asked my pastor for help. He invited me to talk to our congregation about it — not because it is a political issue, but because it is a prayer and religious freedom issue. As a result, 125 signatures were gathered to take to the school board supporting the adoption of the Safe Harbor Model policy for our school district.

All school districts in Texas will have to accept or reject the Safe Harbor Model by Sept. 1, 2007 so it is imperative that Texans wanting the broad scope of religious freedom offered in the new law contact their school boards in support of the Legislature’s Safe Harbor Model. It is always better to let your wishes be known before the decision is made instead of after when little can be done to reverse it.

Sue Richardson is a longtime Irving resident and community volunteer. Her article published in the Dallas Morning News.  She is a friend of this website.

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