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A Notce of Claim is not a lawsuit.


Guest Paul

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Would you prefer that we just filed a suit?

Uh, Paul, you can't really do that, can you?

The notice you filed is a required step if you intend to file a tort claim, isn't it?

Why are you trying to make yourself appear magnanimous for only filing the notice?

If this matter has disrupted your classes, then I suggest you give your name and make your case publicly.

'Cause Paul can't wait to add your name to his next lawsuit! ;)

My name's Bryan, btw. :) So sue me.

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He told high school juniors that if they do not share his religious beliefs, they belong in hell. How can any rational person defend that?

It's stuff like this that sinks your credibility in spite of a lengthy law career.

Mr. LaClair takes a rather lengthy exchange and distills in down to one sentence. In doing so, he abuses the context of the original exchange.

1) A teacher is allowed to be known as a Christian.

2) It is OK to mention religious doctrine in public schools.

LaClair takes two different statements with differing contexts and cobbles them together into a single statement.

If somebody did that to Mr. LaClair, I have little doubt that he might view it in terms of a tort claim.

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In the classroom this issue has already cause so much disruption that is has become unpleasant to be a teacher anymore.  I have changed my way of teacher and carefully watch what I say and say only what the book says.  I have been told that my classes are no longer interested, but these are the guidelines that your son has imposed upon us.  All your actions have been just words, but words can be harming at times.  Please do not think you or your family are the only ones affected by this.  The exception is that you are hiding behind the protection of the tort. 

From all the teachers, thank you.

If you're a teacher then Kearny is in trouble. The grammar in your post is barely literate. I hope it's better in the classroom.

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Yes, it would have been easier to have Matthew removed frpm the class --- just as it would have been easier for anyone who has ever stood for anything to have backed away. Whether it is something as mundane as standing up for someone who is being bullied, something as great as Martin Luther King's struggle for civil rights, or something as epic as Jesus' willingness to be crucified, it's always easier to back down. Please don't think I'm making any comparison between my son and MLK or Jesus as portrayed in the Bible; the point merely is that it's always easier to walk away from a battle, great or small.

As we've said many times, this is about defending the US Constitution and the quality of education in Kearny High, especially science education. They were under attack in that classroom, my son defended him, others admire him for it, and his mother and I am extremely proud of him for it. Just this morning we received a personal telephone call from a chief executive of a major American corporation praising Matthew for his stand.

I completely agree with you that a lawsuit is not the best solution to this situation. We have made it abundantly clear in the months this has been going on that we do not wish to sue. However, if the Board of Education will not take seriously the quality and content of education in their high school, and express their commitment through their actions, then we reserve the right to seek our remedies in court. I know some people won't like it, but if there are no other alternatives, what would you have us do?

Formally or informally, Mr. Paszkiewicz is part of an organized movement in the US called dominionism. The name refers to the idea that SOME Christians have that because they are in the majority they have the right to have dominion over everyone else, including and especially in matters of religion. Allow that to take place in the public schools, and the table is set for it to happen in our government, and then in our laws. We already have the nation's political parties divided along these lines. Just how much more of this do you think a democracy --- in which citizens respect all religions --- will tolerate?

You may not agree with us about how important this is, but that is the battle Matthew has chosen to fight. Backing away would send the message to the dominionists that they can get away with this, which is exactly what citizens who care about the preservation of democracy in America cannot allow to happen. That is how big we believe this issue is.

Finally, I do not believe competent teachers are at all afraid of Matthew. In his twelve years of schooling, no other teacher has crossed this line so blatantly. The fact that there is any doubt about the impropriety of this teacher's remarks in anyone's mind is shocking. He told high school juniors that if they do not share his religious beliefs, they belong in hell. How can any rational person defend that?

As in stated your last paragraph, in Matthews twelve years in school, no other teacher has crossed this line so blatantly. Isn't it also a fact that he has never been so close to where he is now looking at college and as he said he wanted to become a lawyer. Therefore there has never been a time in his life to take advantage of an opportunity like this and wanting to make a name for himself. And he has made a name for himself.

With your council you toss words like dominionism by the part of the teacher. It seems to me that coercion on the part of your son trying to get the desired result for personal gain would be a better word. And there has been personal gain as you have proudly mentioned here.

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My old man would have beat me if I wore a skirt to school and this guy promoted it!!!!!  Aye Karumba.......I think I found where the problem is!

Well, one problem you made clear is that you apparently have a physically abusive father.

It's just a piece of clothing. What's the big deal? A skirt is just a pair of shorts with one leg.

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Well, one problem you made clear is that you apparently have a physically abusive father.

It's just a piece of clothing. What's the big deal? A skirt is just a pair of shorts with one leg.

There goes STRIFE being happy in his lonely little world again. I said "would have beat me". Never said "beat me" or "beat me again" You love twisting other peoples text huh? Besides I dont know whats worse a "physically abusive father" like you stated or a father that uses his son as an avenue to express his own thoughts! Maybe this brave young american can wear his skirt as he joins the US Army and new episodes of M*A*S*H 4077 can be made. Hhhmmmmm who could he play?

PS Mommy and Daddys CANT go to boot camp!

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As in stated your last paragraph, in Matthews twelve years in school, no other teacher has crossed this line so blatantly. Isn't it also a fact that he has never been so close to where he is now looking at college and as he said he wanted to become a lawyer.  Therefore there has never been a time in his life to take advantage of an opportunity like this and wanting to make a name for himself.  And he has made a name for himself.

With your council you toss words like dominionism by the part of the teacher.  It seems to me that coercion on the part of your son trying to get the desired result for personal gain would be a better word.  And there has been personal gain as you have proudly mentioned here.

Do you really think Matthew has the power to make teachers say outrageous things? Next thing, you'll be telling us Matthew can walk on water.

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There goes STRIFE

I only ask for one capital letter, but thanks for the other five. :P

being happy in his lonely little world again.  I said "would have beat me".  Never said "beat me" or "beat me again"

I know what you said.

If a parent "would" beat their child for anything, they are physically abusive. It doesn't matter if they never have. The fact that you claim to know that he would beat you if you wore a skirt to school conveys that you know he is willing to punish with violence.

You love twisting other peoples text huh?

As explained above, I did not twist your words at all. I did not react as if you said your father has actually beaten you at any point.

Besides I dont know whats worse a "physically abusive father" like you stated or a father that uses his son as an avenue to express his own thoughts!

1. The first is much worse.

2. This is a tired baseless allegation. Matthew is quite capable of expressing himself, as he has shown many times. You alleging this about Matthew makes about as much sense as someone alleging that Paszkiewicz converted most of his former class to Christianity, by virtue of the fact that both he and most of his former class are Christians.

Maybe this brave young american can wear his skirt as he joins the US Army and new episodes of M*A*S*H 4077 can be made. Hhhmmmmm who could he play? 

PS Mommy and Daddys CANT go to boot camp!

What are you blabbering about?

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Guest bewildered

Now we hear from another Kearny teacher with bad grammar. Does the KBOE test any of the people they hire?

If this teacher and every other teacher in the district are not doing anything wrong. why would anyone sue them?

Listen to the tapes again with your good ear. Read the transcripts or have someone read them to you. Clearly Paszkiewicz started talking about his views on religion a long time before Matt ever asked a question. His views were not up for debate. If he is such a great teacher, how on earth could a sixteen-year-old boy lead him to say things he shouldn't?

How were you able to listen to the tapes if they are secret?

And Bryan: If Paszkiewicz would have presented his crap neutrally, saying some people believe this and other believe this, the discussion would have been completely constitutional. He didn't do this. He preached his own peculiar views on religion, science, and history.

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Guest concerned citizen

I read Mr. Paszkiewicz’s letter to the editor in The Observer and was appalled. It was whiny, self-serving and almost impossible to follow, but appeared to be making the claim that Global Warming was nothing but a scare tactic, propaganda designed to scare the masses by some liberal conspiracy group. I didn’t read anything addressing his most grievous comment that those who don’t believe in Jesus are hell-bound. His comment that there were “dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark”, well, that’s just disturbing. Then I watched a clip from the most recent school board meeting on the local news.

The absolutely mindless mob that surrounded Mr. Paszkiewicz was nothing short of a cult. The man ranting that “Jesus is on trial” at a school board meeting for a public taxpayer-financed school system made my blood run cold. The vitriol hurled at the LaClaire family, particularly Matt, is more reminiscent of what you would expect in Iraq or Iran than the USA. It also scares me that Mr. Paszkiewicz seems to think, and so far rightly so, that he is untouchable. The scorn and ridicule of much of the nation seems to have no affect on the actions of the administration or the school board. Is this just Hudson County or the rest of New Jersey as well?

So far we haven’t heard from the Science faculty at KHS. What is their position on their raving colleague? I would venture to say that their silence is a sign that if they criticized Mr. Paszkiewicz, the school board or the administration, they would be punished unlike the teacher who abused his power in the classroom, starting the whole mess. Indeed, that implied threat in our education system is the scariest thing of all.

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And Bryan:  If Paszkiewicz would have presented his crap neutrally, saying some people believe this and other believe this, the discussion would have been completely constitutional.  He didn't do this.

I think he did, and he's also allowed to affirm his own beliefs constitutionally.

He preached his own peculiar views on religion, science, and history.

We're back to needing examples stage of the discussion.

It's very "safe" to keep making the accusations so long as there is no requirement for an example that may show that Paszkiewicz is being taken out of context.

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Do you really think Matthew has the power to make teachers say outrageous things? Next thing, you'll be telling us Matthew can walk on water.

Listen to the tapes. I am sure you do nightly counting how much money you think you might get. Yes, I do believe Matthew has more than the capability to twist a topic. Or else why all the probing on his part about the burn in hell? Those were also his words repeated in class more than once. Or do we forget that part?

I do believe in his hunt to become a lawyer he can persuade someone to say that. He seems to be persuasive. For someone trying to curb religion in public places you do use a good amount of religious references. No, I do not believe Matthew can walk on water. Maybe the Passaic River, but not pure water.

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Guest bewildered
I think he did, and he's also allowed to affirm his own beliefs constitutionally.

We're back to needing examples stage of the discussion.

It's very "safe" to keep making the accusations so long as there is no requirement for an example that may show that Paszkiewicz is being taken out of context.

I'll throw back the same answer that you have been giving: it has all been cited before on this forum. Look it up for yourself.

He is not allowed to affirm his own beliefs to a captive, powerless audience in a public place.

He says you will go to hell if you don't accept Jesus. He said he doesn't believe in purgatory. He says Noah had dinosaurs on the Ark. He says evolution and the big bang are not true. He says that bible prophecy has literally come true in history. How can you read that and say he was being neutral. Sit down with a sane person hand have him/her read the transcript to you. Ask them to find the neutrality.

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I'll throw back the same answer that you have been giving:  it has all been cited before on this forum.  Look it up for yourself.

I was there, and argued against it.

Look it up for yourself.

He is not allowed to affirm his own beliefs to a captive, powerless audience in a public place.

The claim suffers for the lack of an example.

He says you will go to hell if you don't accept Jesus.

Not as such. He says the he is a Christian, and he described Christian doctrine (in addressing the problem of evil, which was the root of a question asked in the classroom) as teaching that those who do not accept Jesus go to hell. That is, in fact, Christian doctrine.

He said he doesn't believe in purgatory.

He did? And we're letting him out loose on the streets?

He says Noah had dinosaurs on the Ark.

He directly answered a question posed to him. I don't think it is reasonable to assume that the answer was intended to constitute anything other than his opinion, and the question was asked for purposes of obtaining his opinion, I believe.

It is an injustice to Mr. Paszkiewicz to take his comments out of context and present them as you do, clothed as they are in your biased interpretations.

He says evolution and the big bang are not true.

No, he didn't. At least not on any transcript with which I am familiar.

Again, your accusations suffer for lack of substance.

He says that bible prophecy has literally come true in history.

Correct, and he cited an encyclopedia in support. If you recall, someone had asked about the basis for belief in the Bible. Fulfilled prophecy is one such basis, and it is not peculiar to any one denomination.

How can you read that and say he was being neutral.

I don't place a standard of neutrality on teachers.

The reason I don't do that is because I know that it is unlikely that any teacher can achieve neutrality on any given subject.

You're the one who apparently advocates that standard, and you're probably a big fat hypocrite about it.

Sit down with a sane person hand have him/her read the transcript to you.  Ask them to find the neutrality.

I can see the failure to achieve neutrality any time I wish from public school instructors who are hostile to religion.

Would you treat them as you think Paskiewicz should be treated?

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Listen to the tapes. I am sure you do nightly counting how much money you think you might get.  Yes, I do believe Matthew has more than the capability to twist a topic.  Or else why all the probing on his part about the burn in hell?  Those were also his words repeated in class more than once.  Or do we forget that part? 

I do believe in his hunt to become a lawyer he can persuade someone to say that.  He seems to be persuasive.  For someone trying to curb religion in public places you do use a good amount of religious references.  No, I do not believe Matthew can walk on water.  Maybe the Passaic River, but not pure water.

Guest, your response is gratuitously personal and completely avoids the issue, which is:

A thirty-eight year-old man who has been teaching for fourteen years should be ashamed of himself arguing that a sixteen year-old student "set him up" in his own classroom; and you should know better than to try to defend something like that. Regardless what questions Matthew asked or comments Matthew made, the teacher's words are his responsibility 100%. Attempting to blame someone else, of any age, for his own words, is shameful and indefensible.

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For someone trying to curb religion in public places you do use a good amount of religious references. 

Yes I do. That is because I try to be mindful what these references mean spiritually. I am a deeply religious person, whether you see it or not. So is Matthew, maybe in some of the same ways as I am, maybe different --- I can't even tell, and it doesn't matter. "By their fruits you shall know them."

I make these references because they contain spiritual truths. That does not mean that they are literally true. There is a vast difference, and anyone who confuses the two can become spiritually lost. Do you want proof: Just look at the rudeness, arrogance and outright hostility and nastiness displayed at Tuesday's Board meeting, and where it was coming from.

This difference between literalism and symbolic meaning is perhaps the greatest difference dividing "good people" (as the gentleman from Cliffside Park put it) in the US today. If we are truly all brothers and sisters, we will listen to each other and try to understand and learn from each other --- not merely insist that the other person adopt our views.

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