Very well said.
You have to hear the speech that a parent delivered at a recent school board meeting in response to one board member’s religious tirade against her daughter.
To make sense of it, you have to understand that Colorado Springs has long been a hotbed for white evangelical Christianity. That brand of bigotry has now crept onto local public school boards. A couple of months ago, in the span of a two weeks, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent multiple letters to those boards warning them about board members using their positions to foist their personal religious views on students.
In the case of District 49, for example, Board Treasurer Ivy Liu advertises prayer circles before meetings just outside the building where those meetings take place. FFRF attorney Chris Line said those promotions “would be perceived by any reasonable observer as an endorsement of religion.”
But it’s the situation with another board member, Jamilynn D’Avola, that’s relevant here. When she ran for the board in 2021, her campaign website said “one of my top priorities would be to make sure children are assigned to different bathroom based on their biological sex,” a direct attack on trans kids. She also condemned comprehensive sex education, the “LGBTQ+ agenda,” Black Lives Matter, and “social justice.” Just a total moral monster on every level.
Last year, a student in the district wrote a heartfelt letter to D’Avola urging her to reconsider her positions now that she was on the board. The letter ended by saying, “Some students do not receive this information at home and need to learn it at school so that they stay safe and healthy. I know this is a lot, Mrs. D’Avola, but please, at least consider the things I have said. The mental health of the district’s students is potentially on the line.”
D’Avola could easily have responded with, “Thank you for your message.” And then she could’ve ignored it.
Instead, her response included this Christian-tainted pseudo-sermon:
God cares very deeply about every person and wants them to know who they are in Him… All people are created equal and no one can take that away from them because it was given to them by God. When someone fully understands who they are in Christ, then they will know they are valued and will be able to overcome depression and thoughts of suicide. They will know that there are only two genders and that there is absolute truth that comes from the Word of God. There is great freedom that comes from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father expect (sic) through Him. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, but with this freedom comes great responsibility. We are not free to do whatever we feel like, we must uphold the values and truth of the Bible.
I know that you may not agree with me, and that is ok. I will still see you as the Lord sees you, as a child of the most high God who is loved and valued above all. You are unique, and God has given you special gifts and talents. I pray that God would reveal Himself to you so that you too can experience the love of the Father.
She downplayed the seriousness of mental health. She dismissed the existence of trans people. She implied the student needed to convert to her religion. It was just completely inappropriate bullshit from someone speaking as a government official. Maybe if a Muslim board member did the same thing, she would recognize how out-of-line such a response is.
That’s why FFRF sent a letter to the district telling the board to knock it off.
But on Thursday night, the mother of the student who sent that email stood up during the board meeting to condemn D’Avola’s actions herself. Lacy Carroll’s speech is a breath of fresh air compared to the people who have power in that room:
If she had started and stopped with
All people are created equal and no one can take that away from them because it was given to them by God
it would have been inappropriate, but not actively offensive. Instead, as is usually the case, she dug herself a hole and leaped in.
Great reply, too bad those of whom the message was intended were too s t u p i d to understand the meaning. FFRF will and does take people to court and has a big track record of winning. It's one thing for school board members to open their big mouths. Let's see what happens when the school has to open its pockets wide.
@anglophone Don't forget to include the wallet in the bunch. However, when they lose it will not be she that has to pay.
let that sink in
D’Avola is a Christian supremacist. She has no place in education or in any form of government.
It just galls me when anyone does this kind of crap, but it is even worse in education.
@JackPedigo not this type of situation, per se, but I teach on college/uni levels. However, when I used to sub, decades ago, I was blacklisted at a school because I told a class of 8th. graders that I was pagan when a boy in the class mentioned his mother was--he just volunteered it. And all that I said was "me, too."
Another boy went home and told his dad this--he wasn't tattling on me as he liked me. The dad was on the school board, was a devout Xtian, and poof! I was gone. The dad's reasoning was that because his son liked me so much, I might sway the boy to become pagan. The school secretary wanted to stage a demonstration and the kids were upset, but so be it.
I had subbed at that school for several years and had been a practicing Xtian when I started--kids would ask me if I were Xtian (yes, they did!) and when I said I was, no one ever complained. There is more, but I will stop here.
And I have had students at the local school where I have been an adjunct for 20 who tried to get me fired because they thought I was pagan even though I NEVER said anything about being pagan when I was still practicing. More to that, too, but too much to go into.
@Gwendolyn2018 Why does being a teacher come with so many political issues? As long as you don't push your ideas they should be of no concern to anyone.
Being married to a teacher who was even outspoken about her thinking religion was silly, even when she was in elementary school, I got to hear lots of stories. After moving here she subbed for a school in Seattle (a three hour, one-way trip). She also subbed for the local school. Even though we are in a very liberal area the principal of the local school demanded that the students say the pledge every day. She protested and quit. A couple of years later the principal was fired for his constant sexual harassment of female teachers, admin. and even parents. He brought in lots of money for the school so the harassment was overlooked, that is until it got out of hand.
@JackPedigo it comes with political issues because parents--and "old" students in higher education--do not want to be faced with ideas that do not support their beliefs/opinions. This includes to absence of discussing their beliefs and often, does not even include the teacher "pushing" any personal agendas.
I used to teach mythology and several students dropped the class when I said that all religions and no religions had the same importance in class. I had to forbid students from discussing their religion in online classes; in the first class I taught online, the Xtians HAD to discussed their beliefs. The atheists told them that they were delusional. BAN!
I had a student at another school who said she couldn't complete an assignment on archetypal myths of the flood because it would mean she could not say the Biblical flood was a fact and it elevated other myths to the status of hers. Another instructor who taught the same class had a student who did the same.
In composition classes, I tell students that they cannot support their claims with quotes from the Bible. I had reviews saying that I was "anti Xtian" because of this. One student wrote in a rough draft that climate change was not happening because Noah's ark proved it wasn't. I told him to omit the claim in the final but nope, it was still there.
By the way, the school that blacklisted me held assemblies for Jewish speakers to discuss Judaism. Apparently, only paganism was "bad." I saw a Jewish student from the school later, and she was upset that I could no longer sub there and said one teacher consistently pushed her Xtian agenda on her classes. There was also a fulltime pagan teacher but she kept that info to herself.
@Gwendolyn2018 Being with a teacher I heard lots of stories. However, she never got push back in the Seattle School district. She 'subconsciously converted several students (and their parents) to being vegetarian. One big issue for younger kids dealt with communal bathrooms especially among the male students. She would take each gender into the bathroom and have them practice washing their hands and then using only 1 paper towel to dry. I see guys pulling what seems like reams of paper to just dry their hands. When we got to this 'liberal' island things changed. A position of principal opened and she was more than qualified. She went head to head with two males, one of whom was tall (and she short) who once taught in the school. She beat them all (the former resident had made some enemies). The problem started with some parents and HS teachers. They questioned whether a petite female could handle big teenage guys (we are a small school just over 200 students). They offered her a compromise but she told them she wants to play games with students not adults. Many of the families are wealthy here and the kids spoiled. They have a heavy influence on how teachers did their jobs. She believed i the importance of, non-violent, discipline and some parents complained about her teaching style. She removed her name from the principal job and later quit subbing. Interesting, though, even though she was a lifelong atheist I never heard any stories about religion rearing it's ugly head in any of the schools she worked.
@JackPedigo teachers walk on tiptoe these days. The department chair at one of my schools told that I cannot write, "I regret that you did not submit this assignment," or "Alas, you did not submit this assignment," because it will hurt the students' feelings because I am "disappointed" in them.
If I said some of the things that my profs said to students back in the day, I would get called on the carpet.
To the student and parent who spoke up, I say right on!
simply stunned that such attitudes can be in place of authority
With that comment I get the impression that you may not get out and about much, watch news broadcasts or read newspapers very often then.
You can bet D'Avola and her fellow outrageous idiots will fight FFRF tooth and nail.