Actual photo of controversial bulletin board.
Nativity Scene in NE Arkansas School Was Put Back Up
"After receiving several phone calls regarding a bulletin board at Greene County Tech Primary School that had been decorated with a nativity scene, school district superintendent Jerry Noble decided to allow the board to once again be decorated with the nativity scene. School counselor Kay Williams had originally displayed the nativity scene on Nov. 29 but was ordered to remove the decoration after the school received a complaint from a citizen. However, Noble said after receiving numerous phone calls supporting the nativity scene, he decided to allow Williams to return it to the bulletin board."
“I think it’s due to the fact that most of us are Christians and this is a Christian community,” Noble said “We just decided if we are going to offend someone, we would rather not offend those who have Christian beliefs. The majority of people wanted us to take a stand and that’s what we’re doing.” See entire article at this link: http://www.paragoulddailypress.com/articles/2011/12/13/top_story/doc4ee689a5d8d1c766030853.txt
The article noted that the superintendent had no contact information for those complaining about the bulletin board. In other words they were anonymous.
Information in the article also says the newspaper, the Daily Press, was provided "with several memos from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a legal alliance that defends religious liberty, that cited several legal precedents where courts had ruled the display of nativity scenes in public schools did not violate the Establishment Clause." The superintendent had originally acted on the school attorney's advice.
I seriously doubt that this issue is over. With all the publicity, ACLU may still file a suit. If you have not already, please contact the superintendent, the principal and Kay Williams to help in this controversy. As far as I know, the superintendent was courteous to Kay. For those who don't like to send negative messages, this is your chance to send a Thank you message to the superintendent for allowing Kay to put the nativity scene back up - and still serve the same purpose - that the community wants the nativity scene up. These emails were obtained online.
Jerry.Noble@gctsd.k12.ar.usSuperintendent Jerry Noble (If you ever need other superintendent or principal emails you can find them at this link by county: http://arkansased.org/about/pdf/directory/directory_10-11_020411.pdf You may want to send the information below to your own superintendent or forward this email to them.
Sherry.Vance@gctsd.k12.ar.usMs Sherry Vance who was very ugly when commanding Kay to take down the nativity scene bulletin board and sent her home from school even without the proper discipline procedures.
firstname.lastname@example.org Kay Williams, the counselor who had the courage to put up the nativity scene bulletin board and risk her job by being honest with the reporter to get this information out.
Below is the article I sent out a couple of days ago that gives more detail about the controversy.
Teacher Forced to Remove Nativity Scene School Bulletin Board in Northeast Arkansas
The administration at Greene County School District made the counselor, Kay Williams, take down a bulletin board nativity scene last week. The scene showed two adoring children at the manger with the words Happy Birthday Jesus. The newspaper story in the Paragould Daily Press reported:
"School counselor Kay Williams said she has decorated the board with a nativity scene every year for more than 20 years and was told to take it down last week after the school received a complaint from a citizen ... Mr. Oxford told me it was a very brief conversation,” Williams said. “He [the caller] just kind of said ‘I don’t like that bulletin board in the hall. I want it down now,’ and just hung up.”
So with just one complaint from one citizen, and the bulletin board with the nativity scene had to come down when according to a Fox poll, 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas.
The story continues:
“It was just breaking my heart to
take this down,” Williams said. “I thought I would wait until after school to
take it down.”
Williams said she was summoned to the office by the school’s principal Sherry Vance before the end of the school day. She said she met with Vance and Oxford in Vance’s office, and Vance asked why the display had not been removed. Williams said Vance ordered her to leave the school “and not come back” until Vance or Noble contacted her.
“She [Vance] was very angry with me,” Williams said. “She was saying ‘get your stuff and get out of here right now.’” Williams said she was under the impression she had been fired or suspended. [Later she was called and told to come back to work]
GCT superintendent Jerry Noble said he ordered the decoration’s removal after the school district’s attorney, Donn Mixon, advised him the district would likely lose a court battle if the complainant pursued the matter in court
My responsibility is to protect the school district from getting into a legal entanglement that would cost the taxpayers money,” Noble said. “Even though I believe this is a Christian nation. The majority [of Americans] are Christians, and we should be able to recognize that. But, my beliefs don’t matter when it comes to the law.”
Jerry Halsell with the Trumpet for Heritage Ministry said the nativity scene could be on display without violating any laws. Halsell, when learning of the controversy surrounding the nativity scene, volunteered to assist Williams. He provided the Daily Press with several memos from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) stating that a nativity scene displayed in a public school does not violate the “establishment clause” of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the ADF web site, the ADF is America’s largest legal alliance defending religious liberty through strategy, training, funding and litigation. (Halsell also volunteered to give this information to the Superintendent.) To read the entire story and numerous comments, see this link: http://www.paragoulddailypress.com/articles/2011/12/09/top_story/doc4ee154237d44e926489831.txt#blogcomments
Posted December 14, 2011