Enforce the law that prohibits school segregation

Imagine a public school teaching 5- and 6-year-olds to adopt Baptist doctrines and customs. The school has three Baptist students. During the “Baptist Lives Matter in Schools” action week, teachers tell Baptist children to reject the traditions of Catholics and Jews, disrupt non-Baptist families and communities, and concentrate on the development of “Baptist villages”.

This would be a flagrant violation of Article 9, Section 8 of the Colorado Constitution. He says, “No sectarian principle or doctrine will ever be taught in the public school…”

This means that no teacher can tell Baptists to separate into villages and focus on their Baptist identity. All should give thanks for this law, for such instruction could harm the three Baptist children in the school and all other students who are anything other than Baptists.

The school should teach reading, writing and arithmetic without advocating religious principles and segregation based on sectarian identity. Teach children to respect each other regardless of group identities and labels.

Immediately following the constitution’s prohibition of religious indoctrination and segregation, Article 9, Section 8 states that “no distinction or classification of students shall be made on account of race or color…”

The law, updated 10 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is crystal clear. Teachers should be concerned with the minds of students, not the religious beliefs of their families or their genetic lines. The law places religious identity in the same phrase, context, and category as “race” and “color.”

One cannot read this law without concluding that Centennial Elementary School in Denver is breaking it. Attorney General Phil Weiser and other law enforcement officials should enforce the law and end the Centennial “Family of Color Playground Night” and the open indoctrination of children into pursue segregation based on race.

The school plans to participate in the Black Lives Matter at School week of action. The program includes a commitment to “disrupting Western nuclear family dynamics.” They might as well advocate disrupting Jewish, Catholic, and Muslim family dynamics for the benefit of three students from Baptist homes.

The Black Lives Matter at School week of action asks teachers to emphasize 13 principles that include “transgender affirmation, queer affirmation” and “black families, black villages, black women and black people shameless”.

“This specific week of action is part of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement that aims to provide a learning environment for all students for what I believe is critical reflection and honest conversation about all communities of color,” said Denver Public School Board President Xóchitl Gaytán. The Gazette, speaking for itself. She said a board statement is forthcoming.

“I support this ongoing movement and critical reflection,” Gaytán said.

Centennial Elementary consists of three black children who are the main victims of this message. The instruction tells them that they are different and that they must separate into villages containing only other blacks.

Our country has worked hard to eliminate segregation and other forms of institutional racism, so we should not initiate racial division in schools. It violates the letter of the Colorado Constitution, the spirit of the Civil Rights Act, and several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education.

Weiser, Governor Jared Polis, U.S. Attorney Cole Finnegan, and Denver City Attorney Kristin M. Bronson should enforce the law against this school and simply say “no” to institutionalized intellectual and academic segregation.

It is immoral, destructive, and contrary to modern laws and cultural mores designed to protect our children from ugly practices that we have long deemed wrong.

Denver Gazette Editorial Board


Pandemic, endemic —

or just academic?

Give extra credit for civic engagement to some high school students in Colorado who walked out of class last week to protest what they say are the dangers of COVID on campus. But they lose points when it comes to following the news.

The latest news on COVID, in its “omicron” iteration, is actually encouraging. His ever-busy workload in Colorado, once again, has diminished. The Gazette reported last week that the holiday wave of the virus had peaked.

That doesn’t mean the show is over, so the kids should head back to class – though that’s probably the best use of their school day anyway. On the contrary, the virus persists as it has for nearly two years, and it will likely continue to do so. That means we’ll just have to live with it – which is literally what most people will do.

Indeed, after a year in which most Coloradans have been vaccinated and many have developed natural immunity from a bout with COVID, the simple reality is that the vast majority of people are simply not in danger.

That doesn’t mean they’ll never catch COVID again. It’s just that all the data suggests it’s extremely unlikely to have a big impact on people who aren’t already suffering from health complications.

There is also growing evidence that the omicron variant – accounting for almost all new cases these days – is the mildest to date. Meanwhile, research from almost the start of the pandemic clearly shows that most children and young adults never faced any appreciable risk of severe COVID symptoms in the first place.

All of this should shape our public policy priorities. Frankly, the students who left (in coordination with a nationwide walkout that drew a fairly low turnout) should be much more worried about further school closings. These had a devastating impact last year on Colorado children’s learning as well as their mental health.

Children face minimal harm from COVID itself because, as science clearly shows, catching it will not have serious consequences for them unless they are at risk due to otherwise compromised health. Considerably greater harm awaits them if they return to remote learning as demanded by state and nationwide teachers’ unions — in defiance of science.

More generally, the back and forth on whether the pandemic has become “endemic” – that is, is here to stay – is almost academic. The reality, for all but Coloradans who fall into high-risk health categories, is that COVID is now as navigable as a seasonal flu.

Of course, many parallel debates continue to swirl around COVID and our response to it. Is Governor Jared Polis adequately meeting the critical needs of an understaffed health care infrastructure? Should simple paper masks give way to N95s for the medically vulnerable? And by the way, will we ever achieve an elusive “herd immunity”?

Such questions are quite marginal to most Coloradans, who are simply trying to find the shortest path back to normal. The good news is that we already seem to be on this path – and we are well on our way.

Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board

Tags : high schoolreading writing
Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson