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Shamalama 
Posted: 18-Feb-2005, 04:33 PM
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A Mont Pleasant middle school student is taking her freedom-of-expression fight to federal court, claiming Schenectady school officials have no right to ban her from wearing a handmade red, white and blue necklace to class.

The beads, which Raven Furbert got as a string-it-yourself Christmas gift, symbolize love of country and respect for soldiers serving in Iraq, according to the lawsuit her mother, Katie Grzywna, filed in U.S. District Court in Albany.

Among those soldiers is her uncle, J. Barnes, who is a member of the Army National Guard's 42nd Rainbow Division, and three other relatives. Barnes shipped out to Kuwait in October, and went on active duty in Iraq the first week in January.

Raven, 12, made the necklace over the Christmas vacation and wore it on her first day back to school on Jan. 4. She said it was to commemorate Barnes' move into a danger zone and that it is her way of trying to protect him.

She said she can't understand what the big deal is. "I just want to wear them for my uncle," she said. "I'll be really glad when this is all over."

Schenectady school officials immediately banned her from displaying her unique neckwear in a belief such "gang-related" jewelry violates policy, court papers alleged.

Raven was threatened with suspension if she continued to wear the beads.

Bob Keach, a lawyer who specializes in civil and constitutional rights violations cases, said several of Raven's friends also have been told not to wear the beads even though the Mont Pleasant dress code does not mention beaded jewelry as a banned item.

And the mascot for the Schenectady City School District is a patriot, he pointed out: "So school colors are red, white and blue."

"Patriotism is a virtue to be fostered among the young," he said. "It is not 'gang-related.' We can't believe we've had to take it this far."

"We would never want to stop a student from expressing their patriotism, support for U.S. troops or their love for the American flag or America in our schools," said Jeff Janiszewski, Board of Education president, in a posting on the Schenectady schools' Web site. "This student simply decided to choose one of the very few forms of expressing patriotism that goes against our carefully considered rules."

http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp...sdate=2/17/2005



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MacEoghainn 
Posted: 18-Feb-2005, 05:33 PM
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QUOTE
The Schenectady school district's Student Dress Code 8. Students will not wear any clothing deemed to be gang-related, including, but not limited to, bandannas, colors or flags.
It would appear that Red, White, and Blue are considered "Gang Colors". If that's so then I'm proud to state I'm a "Life Member" of that gang.

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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 19-Feb-2005, 08:54 AM
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QUOTE (Shamalama @ 18-Feb-2005, 04:33 PM)
"This student simply decided to choose one of the very few forms of expressing patriotism that goes against our carefully considered rules."


Maybe they need to carefully re-consider those rules. That is if they can pull their heads out of their a**es long enough to get a breath of air.


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Shamalama 
Posted: 22-Feb-2005, 08:54 AM
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Soldier stunned by kids? rants.

By DAVID ANDREATTA
February 21, 2005

An American soldier overseas is fuming over letters he received from Brooklyn middle-school children accusing GIs of destroying mosques and killing civilians in Iraq.

Pfc. Rob Jacobs of New Jersey said he was initially ecstatic to get a package of letters from sixth-graders at JHS 51 in Park Slope last month at his base 10 miles from the North Korea border.

That changed when he opened the envelope and found missives strewn with politically charged rhetoric, vicious accusations and demoralizing predictions that only a handful of soldiers would leave the Iraq war alive.

"It's hard enough for soldiers to deal with being away from their families, they don't need to be getting letters like this," Jacobs, 20, said in a phone interview from his base at Camp Casey.

"If they don't have anything nice to say, they might as well not say anything at all."

One Muslim boy wrote: "Even thoe [sic] you are risking your life for our country, have you seen how many civilians you or some other soldier killed?"

His letter, which was stamped with a smiley face, went on: "I know your [sic] trying to save our country and kill the terrorists but you are also destroying holy places like Mosques."

http://nypost.com/news/worldnews/40259.htm

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First off, this soldier is 10 miles from the North Korea border, not in Iraq.

Second, just how many of these letters were "coached" either by their parents or their social studies teacher? Politically charged rhetoric, vicious accusations, and demoralizing predictions are not usually the vocabulary of middle-schoolers.

From what I've read Park Slope is a liberal New York City school district. Only 20% voted for Bush in 2004.

The father of Pfc. Jacobs said that there was a cover letter in the package from the teacher, indicating that the students' letters had all been reviewed. So the school knew exactly what was in the letters before they were sent.

This reminds me of the Robert Heinline book "Starship Troopers": only honorably discharged military should have the right to vote, on the theory that you shouldn't be able to help determine the fate of your nation until you have proven you are willing to put your butt on the line for your nation. NO, I'm in no way advocating such a fascist state, but it just came to mind after reading the children's letters.
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Shadows 
Posted: 22-Feb-2005, 09:46 AM
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I find the letters in bad taste also. But the statement made about Middle Schoolers ..." Politically charged rhetoric, vicious accusations, and demoralizing predictions are not usually the vocabulary of middle-schoolers..." is far from being correct. When was the last time you sat down and talked with a 12 -14 year old about current events? They are a headstrong and very opinionated group... I have raised 6 kids one of which is in middle schol right now, you would not believe the conversations she and her friends have.


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Shamalama 
Posted: 22-Feb-2005, 02:07 PM
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QUOTE (Shadows @ 22-Feb-2005, 09:46 AM)

you would not believe the conversations she and her friends have.


Now I will agree with you on this point. The problem is that I raised two true blonde girls, and they earned every strand of their hair. biggrin.gif

Whenever they come home spewing about this or that I try to take the opposite side of the discussion (whether I believe it or not) just to make them think, to get the mush left by public schools out of their heads and force them to take a stand based on sound logic and/or firm belief. I don't want my kids to be blown about by fads and what's cool today.
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