When We Don’t Protest, What Are We Teaching our Children?

 

When children are treated badly, discriminated against, or attacked by the culture, I am protective and outspoken. And when the perpetrators are part of the school system, their actions are even more egregious. These offenders were prepared in this story to conjure up rules, violate the first and second amendments, and harm children in the process. And they needed to be called out for their actions.

Perhaps you haven’t heard the story about Lydia Booth and her mother, Jennifer, who are devout Christians and were targeted for how they were practicing their beliefs. (The story can also be heard in an interview here.)

This situation took place during a time when students were required to wear masks in school during the pandemic. Lydia Booth, nine years old, was quite willing to comply, and told her mother she’d like to wear a special mask. In talking it over together, Jennifer suggested a mask that read, ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ Lydia was delighted at the idea and a family friend made the mask for her.

One day, however, one of her teachers suddenly insisted she had to remove the mask because students weren’t allowed to wear masks with words on them. (At the time she was called out for wearing the mask, Lydia had already been wearing it for two to three months.) After some research, Jennifer discovered there was no such policy, so she sent Lydia back to school with the mask. But the school principal called her:

The principal calls me and she’s like, ‘We’re going to have to have Lydia swap her mask out,’ Booth recounts, adding that the principal said it was against school policy ‘to have religious symbols or gestures on her mask. . .

So we literally go hand-in-hand through the handbook, she says like, ‘I know it’s in here somewhere.’ And she’s flipping through, and she gets to the dress code, which you would assume would be the policy. The only thing she can point me to is like the drug culture, profanity, obscenities.

And I was like, ‘I’m sorry, but Jesus isn’t in these categories, and you’re going to have to give me a solid policy. You can’t just decide you’re going to censor Lydia.’ So she was like, ‘Well, I’m going to get back with the district office, because I know it’s in there.’

The most bizarre part of this story is that later, the assistant superintendent confirmed that the policy was not in the guidebook but in the “restart plan” posted on the school website. This administrator underestimated Jennifer’s determination to confirm his statement:

I actually make my living in IT for a local hospital. And so we kind of think of things a little different. It’s really easy to get it, but people don’t think about it.
So I went and I looked at the metadata for the document that he had sent me. And what it tells you is, it tells you the application they used, they used PowerPoint 2016. His license was tied to his name, so it had his name on there. And then it showed the date and the time that he had modified it, which was 30 minutes before he called me.

So if you can imagine the devastation that you’re like, what kind of lengths would these people go to? In this situation, it’s insane to think.

Needless to say, Jennifer was very distressed at this deception, and contacted other school district officials, getting no support for her position. She felt she was being guided by G-d in her actions and would not give in to this attack on her faith. In sharing her upset when she attended her church, her pastor referred her to the local Southern Baptist Association; someone referred her to the Alliance Defending Freedom. A lawsuit is now pending, led by Tyson Langhofer. He was able to pressure the school to withdraw its demands, but they would not admit what they did was wrong. He believes that legally admitting to this fact is critical to the integrity of this case; otherwise, the school could imply that they had withdrawn under protest and that Lydia was wrong in her position.

*     *     *     *

This story moves and angers me on multiple levels. First, this anti-Christian bigotry is confirmed by the actions of the school administrators and teachers. Second, Jennifer Booth suggested in her interview that if children were raised in Christian homes and didn’t have parents who loved and defended their religion, would they have chosen to stay with their faith or leave it? (She believed many Christians became atheists as a result of this reticence.) Third, if people don’t like your actions or speech, they may feel free to censor you, and that violates the Constitution. Fourth, Jennifer wanted Lydia to know that her religion was worth the battle, even though it was a difficult one to fight.

Finally, Langhofer made the following statement about the case:

But it’s important, not because of the principle, because that principle’s there, but the issue that’s important is, we have to have individuals like Lydia that are willing to speak the truth, regardless of the consequences. And we have to have people like Jennifer, as a parent of Lydia, and says, ‘I’m going to stand for this. We’re going to protect this freedom. This freedom is vital to who we are as Americans, and we must protect it. And we must stand up for the rights, not only of what we believe, but for everybody to express those beliefs.’

Tyson Langhofer and Jennifer Booth speak for me. I hope they speak for you, too.

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    Gosh, I didn’t even go there, Drew. I think, for one, the context you present to a child for their attending a protest is critically important–as much as I dislike protests. H.m.m.m……

    • #2
  3. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    History echoes. Note the masks.

     

    • #3
  4. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    Gosh, I didn’t even go there, Drew. I think, for one, the context you present to a child for their attending a protest is critically important–as much as I dislike protests. H.m.m.m……

    Right? See, now you’re thinking about it, too . . .  ; )

    • #4
  5. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Fauci loves me! This I know,
    For the CDC tells me so;
    Little ones to Him belong;
    Parents are weak, but Tony’s strong.

    • #5
  6. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    Gosh, I didn’t even go there, Drew. I think, for one, the context you present to a child for their attending a protest is critically important–as much as I dislike protests. H.m.m.m……

    Right? See, now you’re thinking about it, too . . . ; )

    Just a suggestion.

    Perhaps an updated version of the Pink Floyd song that can be used at school board meetings around the country.

    Children’s Chorus:

    We don’t need your education 
    We don’t need no thought control 
    No Marxist brainwashing in the classroom 
    Teacher, leave them kids alone 
    Hey! Teacher, leave them kids alone 
    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall 
    All in all you’re just another brick in the wall 

    We don’t need your education 
    We don’t need no thought control 
    No divisive racism in the classroom 
    Teacher, leave the kids alone! 
    Hey! Teacher, leave us kids alone! 
    All in all you’re just another brick in the wall 
    All in all you’re just another brick in the wall 

    Teacher:

    Wrong! Do it again! 
    Wrong! Do it again! 
    If you don’t admit your white privilege, you can’t have any pudding 
    How can you have any pudding if you don’t admit your white privilege? 
    You! Yes, you without the mask! 
    Stand still, little boy! 
    You! Yes, you where’s your mask?! 
    Stand still, little boy!

     

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    History echoes. Note the masks.

     

    Eerie. Terrifying. Prescient? Thanks, @brianwatt.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    Perhaps an updated version of the Pink Floyd song that can be used at school board meetings around the country.

    Now you’re really scaring me. But we must take drastic steps, we must shock them into responding, before it’s too late. Thank goodness, some parents are taking action. Thanks again.

    • #8
  9. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    Perhaps an updated version of the Pink Floyd song that can be used at school board meetings around the country.

    Now you’re really scaring me. But we must take drastic steps, we must shock them into responding, before it’s too late. Thank goodness, some parents are taking action. Thanks again.

    If there was one demonstration at a school board meeting like that with the revised Pink Floyd lyrics it might go viral on social media and then spread around the country – especially if it starts like a flash mob, say with one child’s voice who is then joined by others. Police may be reluctant to stop a marching children’s chorus for fear of looking like fascists (maybe in Canada, not so much). Would recommend that the children be at least middle schoolers.

    • #9
  10. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Heck, just producing a new music video with actors playing shocked and affronted school board officials and and teachers’ union representatives might also make an impact. There are several conservative videographers who could pull this off (Crowder, Carpe Donktum immediately come to mind…naturally Roger Waters may sue but he may not have any grounds to do so since it’s parody and not made for profit and should be protected. But if he does sue, then that will simply increase exposure for it). If YouTube bans it, which they are likely to do, then maybe Tucker and Gutfield can air it.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Heck, just producing a new music video with actors playing shocked and affronted school board officials and and teachers’ union representatives might also make an impact. There are several conservative videographers who could pull this off (Crowder, Carpe Donktum immediately come to mind…naturally Roger Waters may sue but he may not have any grounds to do so since it’s parody and not made for profit and should be protected. But if he does sue, then that will simply increase exposure for it). If YouTube bans it, which they are likely to do, then maybe Tucker and Gutfield can air it.

    These are brilliant suggestions. Somewhere I heard or read that if only 20% of a group protested, it could be enough to force a change. To some people that seems like a lot, but I think it’s do-able. We need more people being willing to act. I agree with your comment about having middle-schoolers (rather than the little ones) who would understand the reasons for their actions.

    • #11
  12. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    I don’t know about Mississippi, but in Texas we have a legally defined grievance policy that would have followed steps up to a board review at which time, at least in my district, the changing of the policy by an administrator would likely have been sufficient grounds for termination.  Protest is all well and good, but what’s wrong with letting the system work.  That district may have a sh*tty board but it sounds like they went straight to a lawsuit.

    Here is the quote:

    “So we gave him the opportunity, we said, like, “Hey, do you want to back down?” They didn’t back down, unfortunately.

    And so we had to file a lawsuit, and after we filed the lawsuit, they finally said, “OK, Lydia can wear the masks to school. And we’ll remove this prohibition on religious and political speech.” But they haven’t acknowledged that what they did to Lydia was wrong.”

    Maybe they had exhausted all options first, but a grievance in our district could have included an apology.  As I said, maybe Mississippi doesn’t have our legal protections.  Maybe the board is complicit.  Backing down after the lawsuit is pretty stupid on the district’s part. 

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
     That district may have a sh*tty board but it sounds like they went straight to a lawsuit.

    I had the impression that the district was given adequate warning that if the “policy” didn’t change, the lawsuit was imminent. Although they walked back the policy, unlike your process in Texas, they refused to apologize. It doesn’t sound like they have a formal process for taking issues up the line. Also, I’m not sure if it would have qualified as a “policy,” since it provided new direction on the website for opening the schools again. It appears that they have a sloppy system.

    • #13
  14. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I had the impression that the district was given adequate warning that if the “policy” didn’t change, the lawsuit was imminent. Although they walked back the policy, unlike your process in Texas, they refused to apologize. It doesn’t sound like they have a formal process for taking issues up the line. Also, I’m not sure if it would have qualified as a “policy,” since it provided new direction on the website for opening the schools again. It appears that they have a sloppy system.

    Their grievance policy is posted on line at the link below.  No way to know how much they followed it before filing legal action.

    https://simpson.msbapolicy.org/DistrictPolicies/Views/SelectedDocumentReadOnly/tabid/1373/Default.aspx?docId=73441

    In general, as a board member I get lots of calls saying “teacher/coach/administrator A did this”.  I have learned to ask “did you call the teacher/coach/principal.” and the answer is invariably “no”.  I’ll go to bat for any kid or parent but skipping the opportunity for a staff member to explain or change their actions seems pretty unfair to the employee.  I get that this is different in that the administrator appears to have been deceitful.

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Their grievance policy is posted on line at the link below.  No way to know how much they followed it before filing legal action.

    https://simpson.msbapolicy.org/DistrictPolicies/Views/SelectedDocumentReadOnly/tabid/1373/Default.aspx?docId=73441

    In general, as a board member I get lots of calls saying “teacher/coach/administrator A did this”.  I have learned to ask “did you call the teacher/coach/principal.” and the answer is invariably “no”.  I’ll go to bat for any kid or parent but skipping the opportunity for a staff member to explain or change their actions seems pretty unfair to the employee.  I get that this is different in that the administrator appears to have been deceitful.

    Thanks! I suspect a grievance was not submitted early on, although I’d be surprised if the attorney for the Alliance for Defense of Freedom didn’t go through the procedure; it would be too easy to be kicked out of court if he didn’t. But I don’t have that level of detail. I’m not surprised that people don’t confront the staff member (as you experienced in TX)–people can be such wusses. And I don’t know if Jennifer initially tried to talk to the teacher. But I think the staff member should be talked to immediately. Too often, misunderstandings turn into major conflicts otherwise.

    • #15
  16. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    Perhaps an updated version of the Pink Floyd song that can be used at school board meetings around the country.

    Now you’re really scaring me. But we must take drastic steps, we must shock them into responding, before it’s too late. Thank goodness, some parents are taking action. Thanks again.

    If there was one demonstration at a school board meeting like that with the revised Pink Floyd lyrics it might go viral on social media and then spread around the country – especially if it starts like a flash mob, say with one child’s voice who is then joined by others. Police may be reluctant to stop a marching children’s chorus for fear of looking like fascists (maybe in Canada, not so much). Would recommend that the children be at least middle schoolers.

    A children’s flash mob, a great idea.  I love the videos of students speaking against CRT at school board meetings. 

    • #16
  17. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    Or to government schools?

    • #17
  18. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    Or to government schools?

    Oh, I already don’t do that.

    • #18
  19. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    Or to government schools?

    Oh, I already don’t do that.

    Somehow, I knew that.

    • #19
  20. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Fauci loves me! This I know,
    For the CDC tells me so;
    Little ones to Him belong;
    Parents are weak, but Tony’s strong.

    Bravo! Bravissimo!!!!!!! 

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Susan Quinn: “You can’t just decide you’re going to censor Lydia.”

    Lydia’s mother was exactly right. They were trying to censor Lydia. 

    Isn’t it interesting the teachers don’t want the parents to “censor” them, but the same teachers think they have the right to censor the kids. 

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    At risk of missing the point, what the admin guy did was fraudulent- he rewrote a state website and presented it as official policy. 

    That alone merits his removal and he should never be allowed to work for the government again. 

    • #22
  23. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Fauci loves me! This I know,
    For the CDC tells me so;
    Little ones to Him belong;
    Parents are weak, but Tony’s strong.

    Insufficiently cynical 🙄

    • #23
  24. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Rock protest songs take little modification to apply.

    The Who

    “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

    We’ll be fighting in the streets
    With our children at our feet
    And the morals that they worship will be gone
    And the men who spurred us on
    Sit in judgement of all wrong
    They decide and the shotgun sings the song

    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again

    The change, it had to come
    We knew it all along
    We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
    And the world looks just the same
    And history ain’t changed
    ‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the last war

    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    No, no!

    I’ll move myself and my family aside
    If we happen to be left half alive
    I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky
    Oh I know that the hypnotized never lie
    Do ya?

    There’s nothing in the streets
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by the bye
    And a parting on the left
    Is now a parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

    I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
    We don’t get fooled again
    Don’t get fooled again
    No, no!

    Meet the new boss
    Same as Worse than the old boss

    • #24
  25. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    The mask is the battlefield for children. Since children do not have the risks of adults the masking of children is not for their good. It has to be something else. And that something else is to promote conformity. The school’s “anti-bullying” campaign has been replaced with school administrator’s own bullying campaign. Masks are part of the indoctrination program. Raising up a generation of compliant automatons is precisely what Progressives want and need. 

    When parents do not protest, they teach their children compliance — to embrace collectivism serving anyone but themselves.

    • #25
  26. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    TBA (View Comment):

    At risk of missing the point, what the admin guy did was fraudulent- he rewrote a state website and presented it as official policy.

    That alone merits his removal and he should never be allowed to work for the government again.

    Heh heh.

    If this kind of standard was always applied, our federal government would collapse.

    • #26
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    You’re having me rethinking the whole idea of bringing your children to protests.

    Having them go to protests is fine. Using them as props to be exploited, not so much. 

    • #27