528 N. MAIN ST. ENGLEWOOD, OHIO 45322
CHARLES J. ARNETT, PASTOR 513-836-3272
BAPTISTIC FUNDAMENTAL CALVINISTIC EVANGELISTIC DISPENSATIONAL
May 9, 1995
Two recent public events have clashed at Northmont. During Feb. 20-22 the Northmont strategic planning team developed a mission statement for Northmont schools. The mission of Northmont Schools is to serve the "parents, students, and community" with the focus on academics. The mission statement is to be the 'acid test' for all the administration and teachers do. The second event was the National Day of Prayer on May 4.
The Northmont administrators are to be commended and praised for their efforts to be consistent with both those events. They planned to read a brief statement announcing the proclamations of President Clinton and Governor Voinovich. In conjunction with those proclamations they planned a voluntary moment of silence in respect to the request of the President and the Governor. The administration apparently worked hard to write the announcement in such a manner as to be unoffensive to all elements of this pluralistic community. The statement was consistent with the National Day of Prayer and consistent with service to the "parents, students and community."
However a few teachers complained and pressured school to cancel the proposed moment of silence. It is difficult not to think this was merely an attempt to show they were not going to serve the parents or the community. It would appear to some that those few teachers who complained were simply trying to take control over the practice and policies of the school. Was there a technical legal problem with the wording of the announcement? I am sure that a biased, anti-moment-of-silence lawyer might say there was. It is true that the Christian Right is pleased with the annual day of prayer. Surely no mature person would oppose a moment of silence because Christians, among others, favor the idea. Even the radical left could meditate on the teachings of Karl Marx. "Why can't we just get along?"
One would think that intelligent, mature adults could have and should have worked out a solution that would have been legal and acceptable to all elements in a pluralistic community. One has to wonder why those few teachers did not take a reasonable and mature approach. What could they have against cooperation? There are three basis for the philosophical/religious systems of the world. One, there are some that believe that the source of reality is outside of man. Two, there are some that believe that the source of reality is within man. Three, there are some that believe there is no reality. A moment of silence is consistent with all three. However, the opposition to a moment of silence seems to be born out of hostility to the liberty of the first view. No small group of teachers should impose their philosophical/religious beliefs on others. Teachers should not be a voice for intolerance. In service to parents and community they could have left this up to parents. Twenty seven teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community members at large said the School would serve the "parents, students, and community." The school board has adopted that mission statement. Now the question remains, will a few teachers destroy the work of Feb. 20-22? Are they so desperate to control the institution instead of serving that they will invent mythical legal technicalities to defy the administration?
I cannot help but wonder if perhaps Timothy McVeigh (the accused Oklahoma City bomber) wasn't greatly influenced by a couple of public school teachers who were more interested in control than cooperation. How many more McVeighs will be taught before we learn what it means to "serve parents, students and community"?
Yours for public education serving "parents, students, and community"
Charles J. Arnett