June 28, 2016 1:13 am ET
Former School Board President sets record straight on Muslim holiday issue
Source: No “HoliDAZE” Here
Lawrence E. Schmidt, former president of the Baltimore County School Board, recently wrote his thoughts on the controversial issue of the Muslim community’s request to add Muslim religious holidays to the BCPS calendar.
So that I don’t misquote Mr. Schmidt, here is a link to his article:
In the past, I have taken issue with Mr. Schmidt over some issues; however, I have always attempted to be fair in my assessment of various topics.
On this particular issue regarding the holidays, I agree with Mr. Schmidt’s response, and I praise him for having the fortitude to take a stand against the PC culture that is attempting to erode our culture.
After all, as evidenced by the recent decision of Great Britain to leave the Europe Union, we are engulfed in worldwide PC madness.
There is nothing wrong with a nation taking a stand by vetting the views of it citizens. Those who lifted their voices through the voting process to maintain a sovereign and united country are neither racists nor extremist, despite what the left would have us believe.
Mr. Schmidt is very clear in his assessment of the situation based on the rule of law. Simply put, as found in the courts that have ruled on this matter, the holiday issue is secular and not religious.
Remember the law requiring separation between church and state? Imagine what could happen if the board caves to the pressure of one activist who, for years, appeared before the board attempting to pound the same message—BCPS needs to recognize Muslim holidays.
The question I have for the BCPS board members is, how much of a Pandora’s Box will this move open? Would Wicca, a practicing religion that believes in “witchcraft,” be the next to openly demand to have its holidays on the BCPS calendar?
As this graph from the recognized Pew Research Center reveals, there is the potential for a very protracted conflict facing our schools for years to come when, in reality, itdoes not have to be that way.
I’ll explain in a moment.
I would caution Mr. Schmidt’s belief that the rest of the board is on the same page. My sources tell me that this may not be the case.
As we have seen, the current board has time and again failed to reign in the autocratic rule of Dr. Dance and many of his failed policies, including STAT, violence in the schools, a budget that consumes half of our entire county finances, and his problematic behavior resulting in one censure by an ethics investigation (with another waiting in the wings).
In my humble opinion, the current board leans decidedly to the left, ignoring the obvious problems that Dr. Dance would sooner sweep under the carpet than turn on the proverbial vacuum and tidy the up his far left agenda.
Instead, the agenda of fear and intimation prevail.
How do I know this is the rule? Because I have talked to countless teachers, both active and retired, only to see the fear in their eyes and a quiver in their voices, which vindicate my assessment.
I have also seen this sense of fear at the various school board meetings.
Recently, I was asked to cover a board meeting in which $200 million dollars of BCPS contracts were to be discussed by the members of the board assigned to oversee that agenda.
Here is the insanity of that concept, based upon several issues.
Number one, the entire review process takes place prior to the board’s scheduled meeting, with only TWO HOURSallotted for this very elaborate and deeply involved process.
I don’t think I have to mention that two hours is not a lot of time to adequately discuss $200 million in contracts.
To make matters worse, one member of the contract panel openly complained that a request to gain insight into these mega deals was left unanswered.
Another board member was troubled by these huge contracts that went to venders on a no-bid basis. Of course, the county bean counters present had the answers to provide a “selective response.” You see, under the county code, any contract over $25,000 requires a bid unless the term “piggy-back” is tacked on.
I received an email from a source who questioned some of Dr. Dance’s recent contracts, totaling $40 million, which were scraped. The contracts were titled Infinite Campus, ScholarChip, and Print Management.
I’m still trying to get an answer as to the status of these costly contracts, but getting answers from the board is like performing dental work with tweezers.
I suggest to the school board that, aside from the other issues I have brought up, the easiest way to deal with these religious holiday issues is to grant students a few “personal days” that can be used to observe any event the students so choose.
Why would the school board want to go down this road anyway? It’s a no-win situation.
I made it clear in a conversation with a source inside the administration that, if the Muslim community feels strongly enough about the issue, then the avenue to address the issue properly is either the courts or the legislature.
Let’s leave this discussion out of the classroom, and definitely out of the board room.