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We have a settlement

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Fallacious argument from incredulity. Just because you don't understand how it couldn't have happened doesn't mean there's "no way." Have you ever asked a scientists in a relevant field, or done some actual research into the subject? How about reading articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals? Of course not, or else you wouldn't have said something so ridiculous.

CLAP MONKEY CLAP. Good job. Here's a cracker.

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Guest Mr. Kotter
After many months, we were finally able to reach agreement with the Board of Education to resolve the matter that arose last autumn when a history teacher made inappropriate comments in the classroom. The Anti-Defamation League will provide training for teachers and students on church-state separation and evolution. A statement issued by the Board includes a re-affirmation of its commitment to evolution and the big bang as part of the science curriculum.

This accomplishes what we set out to do. The Board has also issued a strong statement commending Matthew, and we have issued a statement commending the Board for the actions it is now taking. A complaint policy will also be implemented to provide a mechanism for students to report misconduct in the classroom, and addressing our concerns about recording classes when misconduct is occurring.

The Board has agreed to reimburse our expenses in connection with this matter, but we are not taking a penny in damages. Our expenses do not include any attorneys' fees , as our attorneys were working pro bono. They believed in the rightness of this cause as much as we did.

The link to today's New York Times article is:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/nyregion...r=1&oref=slogin

The Board's statement reads as follows: “The Board wishes to publicly express their appreciation to Matthew LaClair for his efforts in bringing to the School Board’s attention a serious situation in the Kearny schools regarding the Constitutional mandate of Separation of Church and State. Because of Matthew’s exemplary actions in standing up for his Constitutional rights and the integrity of education, often at the cost of his own popularity in the community and the school, the Board was able to take action to correct this situation and improve the educational environment for all students. The Board commends Matthew LaClair for his courage and integrity in taking the responsibilities of citizenship seriously and acting accordingly. We thank him for calling attention to this important issue. The Board reaffirms our commitment to the core academic curriculum standards relating to the Big Bang and evolutionary theory.”

Our statement reads: “We applaud the Board's actions today in moving forward on its commitment to providing Kearny’s young people a first-class education on a broad range of subjects, including science and the law.  We appreciate the Board’s willingness to meet with us to resolve this matter.  This has been a difficult situation for everyone involved and we commend the Board for committing to conduct student and teacher training on constitutional principles and affirming its commitment to the separation of Church and State and the teaching of science in the classroom.  We further appreciate the Board’s efforts in abating objectionable religious content in the classroom.  We are also pleased that the Board has committed to adopting a Complaint Policy which will allow students to address their concerns. We recognize that the Board must be mindful of the interests and well being of all members of its school community, and we understand and acknowledge that the Board’s Policy on Recording Devices seeks to address the privacy concerns of students.  Life is a learning process, and we welcome the opportunity to move forward together for the good of all concerned.”

Our thanks go to KOTW and to our supporters. It is disappointing that there should be any battle at all over these issues in a public school in New Jersey in 2007, but we are pleased that the Board has acted to address this matter in an appropriate way.

The Anti-Defamation League will provide training for teachers and students on church-state separation and evolution.

Who was "defamed"?

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Wasn't the training program already arranged by the BoE?

Is there a difference between this settlement and what the BoE had already decided, other than the commendation of Matthew LaClair?

I wonder what the "expenses" were?

The cost of Matthew's recording device?

An hourly attorney's rate for posting at KOTW?

Gasoline reimbursement for trips to board meetings?

:D

The gas one is the most valuable.

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How do I supposedly betray myself?

I still don't know what would have been reimbursed, and I don't know what expenses would have been incurred apart form the items I mentioned (given that attorney fees did not figure in).

Assuming that Paul is telling the truth (I do grant him the benefit of the doubt), at least by mentioning three possibilities a few things were ruled out.

The questions helped me acquire some information.

Do you give the teacher the benefit of the doubt also??

Assuming that Paul is telling the truth (I do grant him the benefit of the doubt), at least by mentioning three possibilities a few things were ruled out.

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It is a great day for democracy because democracy doesn't mean that the majority gets its way on everything. In a democracy, the minority's rights are respected and honored. In a democracy, not everything is decided by majority vote. There are some things that people in a democracy get to decide individually and for themselves, no matter what the majority thinks. One of the most important of these is religious preference.

The whole point of the First Amendment, and most of the Bill of Rights, is that some things are not subject to majority rule. One of the most important of those individual rights is freedom of religion. What part of this don't you get?

Freedom of religion doesn't mean that the majority, or culturally dominant religious group, gets to push its views on everyone else. It means exactly what it, says, which is that all people are free to worship as they see fit, free from interference by the state. That doesn't mean that a public employee gets to use his time on the taxpayers' payroll to spout his personal opinions, especially his relgious views. He is paid to do a job, not misuse the classroom as his personal pulpit or soapbox. In a public school, which is an arm of the state, that means that a state actor such as a teacher may not proselytize his religious views.

If he wishes to do that, he must go elsewhere to do it. He may still teach, but if he wishes to preach he must do it somewhere else. He can go to his church, he can go into the street, he can go door-to-door, he can go into the newspaper or on radio or television if the owner will allow him there --- he can go pretty much wherever he wants, but he can't do it in his classroom, especially when he's dismissing science with his ignorance, telling kids that dinosaurs were on Noah's ark and telling kids they belong in hell if they don't agree with him. That isn't teaching, it's indoctrination in intellectual slop. Shame on you for defending it.

What you are advocating, deny it as you will, is not a democracy, but a theocracy. Do you really think that in your version of the United States a Muslim would be allowed to express his religious views as freely as a Christian? If an atheist had stood in David Paszkiewicz's classroom and dogmatically announced that the Christian God is a myth, and then defending that proselytizing, is there the slightest doubt in your mind that he would have been fired within a week? Not one of you has been willing to address that question honestly or for more than the briefest moment. What implications does this have for equal treatment under the law, and "liberty and justice for all?" Have you considered the question, or do you not care? Do you have any idea what being in a religious minority is like, or how hard it is for anyone, let alone a child or teenager, to withstand the pressure of the cultural majority? Do you really believe that Christians are not free just because they may not push their religion on anyone and everyone, anywhere and anytime they choose? Do you have no concept of limits? Do you really think that religious minorities will remain free if the government does not protect their rights? Where is the historical example for that? Do you really think that laws can ever be absolute, or is it possible that legal principles must be taken in the practical context of the world? And when you get around to thinking about that context and these other issues that inform the law, if you ever do, what does your principle --- if you actually have one --- really mean for the rights and privileges of everyone in your country, not just those whose views are culturally dominant? Have you ever once thought about any of this, or were you too busy reconstructing the world to fit it into your biases?

The doublethink is yours. It is in proclaiming religious freedom that offers true freedom only to the majority and to those in power. That is the same absurd and unsustainable concept of "freedom" that led to legalized slavery, the "right" to own slaves, legally recognized and protected in the United Stated of America until after the Civil War. Why is this hard for you to understand? Why don't you see that this does not work? Or is it that you just don't want to see and understand it?

I've asked this question several times, and not one of you radical theocrats has answered it. The law in the United States is that each person is free to worship as he or she sees fit without interference from the state. It is a beautiful principle, hard-won and precious. Why isn't it the best rule, and why aren't you satisfied with it?

For months, you've been mindlessly but selectively nit-picking individual sentences and phrases, often out of context, as though you can make a coherent argument in tiny pieces. So go ahead, have a party: answer all these questions if you think you can. No doubt you'll come up with some meaningless words to convince yourself this is all possible. I count seventeen questions, and probably double or triple that numbers of statements. Have yourself a party. Comment on them all.

Bryan, there are people defending this teacher who don't have the intellectual muscle to know better, but you do. You have enough of a brain that you have no excuse, and so I say shame on you.

?????????????????????????????????

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Strife, you put a lot of confidence in the dranger transcript. Why is it cited as authoritative?  Is it certified somehow, or is it just an internet hack's transcript. I found it wasn't completely faithful to the recordings.

Okay.

Are you arguing that Paszkiewicz, in those recordings, never spoke about rejecting "[God]'s gift of salvation" and the consequences thereof in the second person?

Yes or no only, please.

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About that commendation by the BOE, that was part of the settlement.  In effect, the BOE agreed to  "your demand" that they publicly commend your son in order to head of a costly lawsuit.  Every parent wants there child to be a hero, but precious few would stoop to the level of threatening a lawsuit for an insincere commendation making their child a pseudo hero.

If it would be so "insincere" then why was the Board unwilling to go to court? If it was a frivolous lawsuit, they could get it thrown out and/or have the LaClairs be made to pay the court costs etc. on their side.

Who do you think you're kidding? The Board settled, and they were lucky the LaClairs gave them the option, considering just how BLATANT the 'offenses' were. The LaClairs have said from day one they don't want to have to sue the Board or anyone else to get justice. If they DID want to sue, they could have, and they would be basically guaranteed an easy judgment in their favor, and likely could have collected a significant amount in damages. The LaClairs didn't even go after Paszkiewicz personally when they had more than enough reason to, and you're sitting there whining that they "threatened a lawsuit?"

Do you by any chance remember WHY things got to that point in the first place? Geez... <_<

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Wow!  With all the publicity on so many left-leaning and atheist websites, I wonder why you had to threaten your own community with a lawsuit in order to force them to recognize Mathew as a hero.

lol, and the stupidity shifts again.

A mere memory are the "it's all about money" arguments, since the fact that they didn't accept ANY monetary damages pretty much makes anyone who makes that argument look retarded.

Now, the 'argument' is that Paul "threatened" the town with a lawsuit, NOT in order to preserve justice when it comes to recognizing that Paszkiewicz was F**KING up in a public school classroom, but to "force them to recognize Mathew (sic) as a hero." Let me ask you all something, with total sincerity: who do you think is BELIEVING this nonsense? I could only imagine people on the level of that moron at the February meeting that complained that since Christians are the majority in Kearny, we should all do whatever they want and ignore minorities are agreeing with this tripe or thinking it makes the least bit of sense.

You guys just can't handle the reality of the situation--you make it clearer with each post like this that gets made.

After all, they know him best, or is that the problem?  <_<

If the February meeting is any indication, all much of them know how to do is thump their Bibles. I bet those people are more familiar with their imaginary friend than they are with the Constitution, and that's just shameful.

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Great, now using force to get the BOF to commend you and make you a hero is considered acceptable.

I wonder what the Founding Fathers would think of this silly episode.

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lol, and the stupidity shifts again.

A mere memory are the "it's all about money" arguments, since the fact that they didn't accept ANY monetary damages pretty much makes anyone who makes that argument look retarded.

That's way too much to assume, Strife.

What was the amount received for "expenses"? And what were the "expenses" where the legal representation worked for free?

You can just assume, if you like, that the expense amount was really expenses, and that the amount awarded was reasonable--but in the real world it's perfectly possible to pad an expense account so that it doubles as an award of damages for all practical purposes.

Now, the 'argument' is that Paul "threatened" the town with a lawsuit, NOT in order to preserve justice when it comes to recognizing that Paszkiewicz was F**KING up in a public school classroom, but to "force them to recognize Mathew (sic) as a hero."

Could it be that the attorneys on the case realized that LaClair's expenses (however accurate the term is in this case), an training program already planned in principle, and a coerced commendation for Matthew was the best he could get?

If the February meeting is any indication, all much of them know how to do is thump their Bibles. I bet those people are more familiar with their imaginary friend than they are with the Constitution, and that's just shameful.

Strife, it appears to be your side that resists the historical reality of the federalist system implemented by the Framers of our Constitution, and Paul LaClair who hilariously marks the start of the United States no earlier than 1787 (using some caveat about current system of law to make it seem less outrageous).

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If it would be so "insincere" then why was the Board unwilling to go to court?

Court is expensive even if you win, in the United States.

That's why being a lawyer can be such a great gig, here. The attorneys on both sides usually win ($).

If it was a frivolous lawsuit, they could get it thrown out and/or have the LaClairs be made to pay the court costs etc. on their side.

There's no guarantee that the court would so rule (likewise no guarantee that the LaClairs would whatever damages they sought). That's why settlements happen rather frequently.

Who do you think you're kidding? The Board settled, and they were lucky the LaClairs gave them the option, considering just how BLATANT the 'offenses' were.

The LaClairs settled for what the BoE had already agreed to provide (inservice training on constitutional issues), some sort of inservice program for the kids (details even sketchier on that one), a commendation for Matthew, and expenses.

If the expenses weren't substantial (and perhaps in excess of reasonable expense), it doesn't seem to me that the LaClairs got much.

The organization giving the inservices, the ADL, was signatory to a rundown of church/state separation issues that I posted weeks ago, that one of you on Paul's side (IIRC) downplayed as not having the force of law.

If the ADL program is consistent with that document, then maybe you won't like their inservice program.

The LaClairs have said from day one they don't want to have to sue the Board or anyone else to get justice. If they DID want to sue, they could have, and they would be basically guaranteed an easy judgment in their favor, and likely could have collected a significant amount in damages.

Based on what? Your wildest dreams?

Perhaps you should name the top few damage awards for offensive religious speech or failure to provide 24-hour guard to a student who occasionally receives verbal abuse at school.

Two million, $1.5 million? Perhaps as little as $200,000?

The LaClairs didn't even go after Paszkiewicz personally when they had more than enough reason to, and you're sitting there whining that they "threatened a lawsuit?"

Paul LaClair did go after Paszkiewicz personally, misrepresenting him repeatedly at KOTW. A tort claim against Paszkiewicz would, I think, risk being ruled frivolous.

Do you by any chance remember WHY things got to that point in the first place? Geez... <_<

I'd say it mostly has to do with the fact that the elder LaClair is a lawyer, a liberal (rankled by Paszkiewicz's political views), and opposed to certain aspects of Christianity.

Members of the Ethical Movement treasure religious freedom for all, and above all freedom of individual conscience. Religious freedom requires religious tolerance.

Apparently not religious tolerance in the classroom, however. In the classroom, LaClair prefers for secular humanism to serve as the default national religion.

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That's

Bryan, you think that preaching in public school doesn't violate the Constitution. The end.

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." --Thomas Paine

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Strife, it appears to be your side that resists the historical reality of the federalist system implemented by the Framers of our Constitution, and Paul LaClair who hilariously marks the start of the United States no earlier than 1787 (using some caveat about current system of law to make it seem less outrageous).

Who was the first President of the United States, and when did he take office? You're not as smart as you think you are, Bryan.

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lol, and the stupidity shifts again.

A mere memory are the "it's all about money" arguments, since the fact that they didn't accept ANY monetary damages pretty much makes anyone who makes that argument look retarded.

Now, the 'argument' is that Paul "threatened" the town with a lawsuit, NOT in order to preserve justice when it comes to recognizing that Paszkiewicz was F**KING up in a public school classroom, but to "force them to recognize Mathew (sic) as a hero." Let me ask you all something, with total sincerity: who do you think is BELIEVING this nonsense? I could only imagine people on the level of that moron at the February meeting that complained that since Christians are the majority in Kearny, we should all do whatever they want and ignore minorities are agreeing with this tripe or thinking it makes the least bit of sense.

You guys just can't handle the reality of the situation--you make it clearer with each post like this that gets made.

If the February meeting is any indication, all much of them know how to do is thump their Bibles. I bet those people are more familiar with their imaginary friend than they are with the Constitution, and that's just shameful.

Clap Monkey Clap. Here's another cracker.

Do you think you can post something without cursing? Very professional of you.

Paul did get the cash, and the Board of Education could not risk even the possibility of a lawsuit, even from a deranged attorney, because until the budget passed there was no money there. Just the possibility could and would have ruined this towns Educational system thanks to a snot-nose little boy.

Why would Paul ask for anything at all? He repeatedly said that he wasn't after it. He settled on an amount after junior got his ill-famed scholarships and recognition in the papers in his media blitz.

If the Constitution was always right then why did they have to add so many amendments to it? Think about it, maybe it's still not correct.

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Clap Monkey Clap. Here's another cracker.

Do you think you can post something without cursing? Very professional of you.

I wasn't aware that posting on a forum was a 'profession.' People acting like idiots on an online forum merit no "professionalism" from me, so they won't be getting any. Deal with it.

Paul did get the cash, and the Board of Education could not risk even the possibility of a lawsuit, even from a deranged attorney, because until the budget passed there was no money there.  Just the possibility could and would have ruined this towns Educational system thanks to a snot-nose little boy.

You mean thanks to a Bible-thumping teacher.

Bottom line: if Paszkiewicz hadn't preached his religion in a public school classroom, there would have been no issue in the first place. By your logic, we ought to lock up the guy who calls the police to tell them a popular townsperson is robbing a convenience store, instead of the actual criminal. I hope you're proud of yourself.

Why would Paul ask for anything at all?

Because the Board failed to address the issue in anything even resembling a timely manner.

He repeatedly said that he wasn't after it. He settled on an amount after junior got his ill-famed scholarships and recognition in the papers in his media blitz.

So you think it's a bad idea for someone to get recognition for standing against a popular teacher and making him accountable for his irresponsible, unethical, and unconstitutional actions? Is that really how you feel? If so, I pity you.

If the Constitution was always right then why did they have to add so many amendments to it?  Think about it, maybe it's still not correct.

Religious societies are less moral than secular ones.

It's quite well-established that having separation of church and state is best for a society--or, at least, way better than establishing an 'official' religion or theocracy or anything like that. Together with freedom of religion, the "wall of separation" makes it so that people can practice whatever religion they want, but at the same time, it keeps anyone from having others' religion(s) imposed on them. Sounds like a pretty good setup to me. If you have a better idea, I'd sure like to hear it.

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I'd say it mostly has to do with the fact that the elder LaClair is a lawyer, a liberal (rankled by Paszkiewicz's political views), and opposed to certain aspects of Christianity.

Members of the Ethical Movement treasure religious freedom for all, and above all freedom of individual conscience. Religious freedom requires religious tolerance.

Yes, what horrid liberal ideas.

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Okay.

Are you arguing that Paszkiewicz, in those recordings, never spoke about rejecting "[God]'s gift of salvation" and the consequences thereof in the second person?

Yes or no only, please.

Maybe ?

So if you highlight it, does that make it correct ? Waa !!

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lol, and the stupidity shifts again.

A mere memory are the "it's all about money" arguments, since the fact that they didn't accept ANY monetary damages pretty much makes anyone who makes that argument look retarded.

Again the stupidity comments. Clap Monkey clap!!

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About that commendation by the BOE, that was part of the settlement.  In effect, the BOE agreed to  "your demand" that they publicly commend your son in order to head of a costly lawsuit.  Every parent wants there child to be a hero, but precious few would stoop to the level of threatening a lawsuit for an insincere commendation making their child a pseudo hero.

Tell you what, then. It's your job to put this LaClair kid in his place. Go down to the Board's offices tomorrow and demand that they issue a commendation like that for your kid.

Be sure to let us know how you make out.

. . . . .

Let's assume that you're right. Let's assume that LaClair pressured the Board into doing this. Even if that were true, you'd have to give the kid a lot of credit for having the Board by the balls and knowing just how to squeeze.

Or, if you want to look at it another way, name for us all the other students in the history of Kearny High who've gotten a commendation like that.

. . . . .

It wasn't supposed to turn out this way, was it. The kid was supposed to be put in his place. Instead he put the Board, the administration and the Kearny bigot brigades in their place. If you think what he did was easy, you try it. And if you don't like it, then find a way to show the kid up. Be sure to let us know what you come up with.

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Maybe ?

If you're not even willing to positively assert your argument, why are you even making it? Obviously you're not as confident about what you're saying as you'd like others to believe. Not surprising.

So if you highlight it, does that make it correct ?  Waa !!

I 'highlighted' for emphasis, as I stated quite plainly. If you're too illiterate to see the "emphasis added" I stuck at the end, that's your problem.

I added emphasis in order to emphasize (I'm not going too fast for you, am I?) the fact that the comments are directed outward, not inward. One doesn't say "you" when he's talking about himself, and that quote shoots the 'he wasn't referring to others' argument dead in the water.

Talk about grasping at straws--you guys will claim just about anything to try and make Paszkiewicz look like an innocent victim, huh? Give it a rest--no one with half a brain is falling for this nonsense.

In fact, why don't you directly ask Paszkiewicz yourself? Ask him if he believes that NO ONE BUT HIM will go to hell if they reject 'God's gift of salvation.' I'm sure Paszkiewicz himself would be happy to contradict your retarded argument.

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Supposedly setting the stage for what follows?

It's quite well-established that having separation of church and state is best for a society--or, at least, way better than establishing an 'official' religion or theocracy or anything like that.

The United Kingdom has an official state religion (Church of England). How does the paper you referenced rate the United Kingdom?

After that look up Denmark (Evangelical Lutheran Church).

Together with freedom of religion, the "wall of separation" makes it so that people can practice whatever religion they want, but at the same time, it keeps anyone from having others' religion(s) imposed on them.

So the people of the United Kingdom and Denmark are religious repressed (or something like that) in Strife's book?

Sounds like a pretty good setup to me. If you have a better idea, I'd sure like to hear it.

How about the government the way the Framers intended it, altered only by the consent of the people via elected representation and/or Constitutional amendment?

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. . . . .

It wasn't supposed to turn out this way, was it. The kid was supposed to be put in his place. Instead he put the Board, the administration and the Kearny bigot brigades in their place. If you think what he did was easy, you try it. And if you don't like it, then find a way to show the kid up. Be sure to let us know what you come up with.

Bigot brigades? By definition, a bigot is someone who is intolerant of others.

As I recall, it was a Christian who answered an atheist's questions who was not tolerated. By the way, Mathew's questions as well as his irreverence for the beliefs of others can be heard being tolerated on the classroom recordings.

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