Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Open Letter To Janet Travis

Modified Image on School Yearbook Cover Upsets Some Parents
'In God We Trust' Scrubbed from Image of Liberty Nickel
By Jim Brown
May 30, 2006

(AgapePress) - Parents in suburban Fort Worth, Texas, are expressing anger over an elementary school's decision to remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from its yearbook cover.
Officials at Liberty Elementary School in Colleyville deliberately omitted the words "In God We Trust" from a large image of the new "Liberty" nickel appearing on the cover of the school's inaugural yearbook. The coin features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the cursive "Liberty" inscription in Jefferson's own handwriting, and the national motto along the right edge -- except, that is, along the edge of the coin's image on this elementary school's yearbook.
Janet Travis, principal of Liberty Elementary School, explains that in making the determination, she wanted to avoid offending students of different religions. But for those who preferred, the yearbook came with a sticker that allowed students to put the phrase "In God We Trust" back on the Liberty nickel.
An attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram that the move by the school and the district was appropriate, sensitive, and constitutional. "Sometimes administrators and schools are really caught trying to make appropriate decisions with respect to people's views. Someone is always going to complain," said Dallas attorney Michael Linz. "I think that the school administrators were drawing the appropriate line by trying not to offend others."
But Debi Ackerman, whose ten-year-old daughter attends Liberty Elementary, says despite the school's intentions, it succeeded in offending "people who believe in our country and what it stands for."
Ackerman says she had a "huge problem" with the way it was handled. "Instead of printing 'In God We Trust' on the coin image, they didn't print it, and instead sent it home in sticker form in a concealed envelope," she says. The mom says it was explained to the young students that "there are some people who don't believe in God and that this might not be appropriate for some beliefs -- and when you get home, go ahead if you wish to and affix [the sticker] to the yearbook."

The decision to remove the motto from the coin's image, says Ackerman, is another example of political correctness run amok.
"For me it kind of stemmed from like, Christmas trees aren't being referred to as Christmas trees; they're being referred to as holiday trees," she says. "And instead of Christmas decorations, it's holiday decorations -- and Easter break isn't Easter break anymore, it's Spring break. Then this happened, and for me it was just like they seem to be worried about stepping on the wrong people's toes."
Interestingly, one of the parent leaders in the school turned the same phrase in an interview with Star-Telegram. "We are a public school," said Tom Gardner, Liberty PTA president. "We sure do not want to step on anybody's toes. I don't think any harm was intended."
In an effort to address and perhaps defuse the situation, the school district has issued what it calls an "apology letter" to parents. But Ackerman says it reads more like a "regret letter" than an apology.

Janet Travis,

It was a sad thing to read in the news that those in charge of the education of children at Liberty Elementary School are so wanting for the basics in logic, not to mention character, civic pride and rudimentary patriotism.

To have deliberately defaced the reproduction of a beautifully rendered US coin to appease the rudeness of some un-named person or persons who would condemn others’ beliefs is a tragic misunderstanding of protocol. Logic would dictate that you might provide a sticker to cover over the letters for those that so dislike our country, its motto and what Americans stand for. A permanent marker would also do the job nicely. Sadly, you chose to alter an artist’s work, as it was commissioned by our government, to avoid offending someone who disapproves of our nation’s motto. It is this very motto that compels us as a people who trust in God, to be as generous as we are with our resources to those in need and to rush, at our own peril, to assist those in trouble. Europe is free today because of the principles imbedded in that motto which the Liberty School chose to make the object of shame, as it removed it from it’s inaugural yearbook.

The idea to remove those words, all the while offending the vast majority of Americans that truly love our country, for the sake of a handful that disapprove of what we stand for as a nation, is nothing short of a disgrace for you and all who are aligned with the Liberty School, an oxymoron if ever I heard one, as true liberty has become something of an object of shame in Texas it would appear. If those whom you were trying to protect from the roots of American courage and strength were truly offended by the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”, surely they would have the strength of character to avoid that phrase where ever it might appear. If they were truly people of courage and conviction, then I could respect their position. But for people to trade with and accept a currency emblazoned with words that truly and deeply offend them, so deeply offensive that it brings an American principal over the brink of unprincipled thinking and false logic, a logic that appears more rooted in fear and shame than in true sensitivity, then they seem to have no more principle or courage than one who would trade in a currency that maligned blacks or cursed Jews. To obscure such offensive language as that would be laudable. To obliterate and make a second thought of our official motto is not.

To accept the benefits of a God loving country and the protections which such a God loving country affords, while denying the same God that compels most Americans to be the truly courageous and generous people that they are, is nothing short of parasitic. To deface a work of art as it appears in the form of official US currency for the sake of spinelessness and false concern founded more in timidity than sensitivity, is to be willing to hand over the keys to the kingdom to anyone who cries foul because of your own beliefs. That is just tragic and anyone who subscribes to such a lack of character and principle doesn’t deserve the benefits provided by countrymen who truly do trust in God and are willing to put their lives on the line for those beliefs. Anyone willing to accept the benefits of a country which is primarily and overwhelmingly God-trusting while denouncing in shame the beliefs of those who provide those very benefits is disgraceful at best. There’s really no excuse for protecting, defending and preserving the denunciation of the roots of America. To remove the words which were rightly there by an act of Congress for the sake of those who cannot accept it is just weakness, not strength. A true educator would recognize such inverted logic and know that. A true educator would promote a tolerance for the country in which one lives and a gratitude for the benefits provided by a people that trust in God. A warped sense of values would do otherwise.

The fact is, those who don’t trust in God do surely trust in those that do as they stand, defended by the greatest army in the world, the vast majority of whom do trust in God and love this country because it does too. The greatest source of charitable giving in this great country is from the people who go to church on Sunday… people who trust in God. Without that great trust in God, it is unlikely we would be here today as a free people, since it would have been politically correct, at least according to the principles demonstrated by Liberty Elementary School, to hand over the US Constitution to the Nazis or the Japanese Emperor simply because they were so deeply offended by the principles of trusting in God, as ensconced in that document. Or maybe even obscure the nation’s motto to avoid offending those who are, in their ingratitude and lack of acceptance of our great country’s principles, offended because we believe as we do; and all the while sucking up all the resources that such God trusting people provide. Such cowardice and unprincipled behavior is a disgrace and I just needed to say so.

Education can come in either of two forms: what to do and what not to do. In God I trust that the children in Texas can distinguish between the two.

Thank you for your time

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