Ark. School Decides to Continue Allowing Minister Visits

Remember the Arkansas school that suspended visits from local ministers with students during school lunches? Turns out the suspension was temporary. They’ve issued a new policy allowing such visits, with a couple new rules imposed on them if they do so.

The Conway school board approved recommended procedures Tuesday to make sure schools’ visitation practices are “neutral” for both religious and nonreligious visitors.

The change means youth ministers and others will be allowed back on school campuses in the coming weeks, superintendent Greg Murry said.

The move came after Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law firm that seeks to defend religious liberty in the public arena, released a report Thursday saying the school district’s policy of allowing non-student visitors during lunchtime is “neutral” and does not advance or inhibit religion…

Changes include having visitors to the high school and junior high school maintain a list of each student with whom the visitor is affiliated. The principal of the school may exclude any visitor from engaging with students not on the visitor’s list. At elementary and middle schools, visitors may only have access to students whose parent or legal guardian has consented to the visit.

Principals can segregate visitors “if he or she deems” it important, Mateer said.

The school district is also seeking to take out bids for new screening equipment to do background checks on visitors, said K.K. Bradshaw, director of Administrative Services at the district.

But why do they need to be there at all? No other non-parent has access to students during the school day. It seems obvious to me that this is just a way of allowing ministers to have access to the schools.

15 comments on this post.
  1. steve84:

    Lol. “Liberty Institute”. Way to go to hide who they really are.

  2. democommie:

    “released a report Thursday saying the school district’s policy of allowing GODbothering assholes to browbeat and intimidate non-christian/non-”Our sorta” christians and atheists during lunchtime is a win for us because buddhists, jainists, Cath-O-Licks and other Satanspawn cults ‘ students will not want to be singled out for receiving KKKristian LOVE on the playground or schoolbus and does not inhibit OUR religion…”

    There, ftfy.

  3. brucemartin:

    Maybe we just need one or two students to request a visit by a local adviser from the Secular Student Alliance. After those visits start, the board might see our point.

  4. DaveL:

    The LIberty Institute has been pushing the “hypothetical neutrality” strategy in several cases. It’s bound to work for a while, as long as there’s no danger of this hypothetical neutrality towards religion turning into actual neutrality.

  5. raven:

    It’s a dumb idea for a lot of reasons.

    The local schools in my area don’t allow outsiders in without being registered and screened.

    This is part of a security program. They don’t want random shooters just walking in and killing a few dozen children.

    Being a xian minister or priest is no guarantee of being harmless. In fact, quite a few have turned out to be pedophiles and some are in prison for crimes like murder.

    Principals can segregate visitors “if he or she deems” it important, Mateer said.

    This is meaningless. They already can do this. You can bet it will be segregation as non-neutral as possible.

  6. monimonika:

    Bingo, DaveL.

    Once non-Christian/Jewish (hard to say “no” to rabbis if ministers are allowed) people try to register for visits and inevitably get denied for contrived reasons, a lawsuit’s going to spring up and the school’s going to have to decide quick whether to continue trusting the Liberty Institute’s theory of law or not.

    Oh, and surprise, surprise, Liberty Council claimed that no parents came forward with concerns. Well, it’s understandable that they wouldn’t hear anything since they didn’t allow any parents to speak anyway:

    No parents spoke during Tuesday’s board meeting, but Liberty’s report was released late Thursday and parents calling Friday were told they missed the deadline to be on the agenda.

  7. Draken:

    Let’s do the Brayton test on this. Allow a couple of Arab imams (you know, brownish skin, beard, taqiyah) to visit. Film Liberty Institute and check their colours with a reference scale.

  8. dingojack:

    ‘Ark, Schools”?
    Sorry I’ve gotta ask: is this Arkship A or Arkship B you’re talking about?
    Dingo

  9. jason the cripple:

    “Changes include having visitors to the high school and junior high school maintain a list of each student with whom the visitor is affiliated. The principal of the school may exclude any visitor from engaging with students not on the visitor’s list. ”

    First of all, it says “may exclude” which means if the principal allows it, the ministers can start bothering the kids not on the list. And in schools that do exclude them, how long until the ministers ignore the list and start proselytizing?

  10. marcus:

    I’m sure when a Muslim student requests a visit from a local imam that everything and everyone will still be “neutral”.

  11. lanir:

    It might be hard to locate an imam in that area. Personally if it were possible I’d want to alternate days and invite Wiccans, Buddhists, whoever I could get to show up once in awhile to run interference and keep the oppressive majority at bay. Of course, that’s now not when I was trapped in the same building with hundreds of people likely to get angry when the inherent hypocrysy of the viewpoint they’ve been handed since before they had critical thinking skills. And it also doesn’t necessarily reflect the availability of publicly differing religious views in an Arkansas town.

  12. sezme:

    No it won’t lanir. Just have these kids get permission to have lunch:

    http://www.islamicfinder.org/getitWorld.php?id=16542

    They’re not far out of high school anyway and will connect better with the kids than the old farts.

  13. marcus:

    sezme@ 12 As I suspected. Thanks.

  14. twosheds1:

    Someone needs to amend that rule to ensure that the ministers have to have another adult present, or be in full public view while with students.

  15. chasbo:

    Conway. Just down the road apiece from Toad Suck.

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