It would be safe to say that Lincoln Center City is basically a place that is an average-sized urban metropolitan located in the state of Fordham. This is a town where there are about 75,000 people that are living in Lincoln Center and this is a type of city that really prides itself on its diversity in cultures. However, this pride may not necessarily be continual. Is it possible that it is a little biased? In the cities defense, facts really do show that in this town a lot of people that are really attracted to Lincoln Center for the reason that of the City's thriving business atmosphere, and the population is therefore made up of numerous religions, cultures, and ethnicities. All of these do give it an advantage because it shows that it is a city that has racial tolerance but could that may not be the same when it comes to religion, especially when it comes to the school system, particularly at Lincoln-High School. Like most of the public schools in the city, Lincoln High is entirely funded by the Lincoln Center government. Every one of the administrators and teachers and are government workers and all school buildings and property are upheld by the government. The high school does comprise of grades nine through twelve; roughly 1,000 pupils are in each of the grade levels. Similar to the Lincoln Center itself, the inhabitants of Lincoln High is very diverse. Most of the students all really do come from numerous cultures, speak different languages, and exercise countless religions. Some of the leading religions which are being represented at Lincoln High include Judaism, Islam and Christianity. With that said, even with the acceptance of religious broad-mindedness being accepted at the school, apparently problems are arising when those in the community do not accept the same open-mindedness.
As Mayor, you are already aware of a frustrated citizen that has become very annoyed with the Mayor's Office due to their inaction and upset regarding their Ms. Foster voting experience. We understand that you are familiar with Ms. Foster filing this action against the City pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (see Appendix III) to charge the school's exhibition of the seal. Ms. Foster goes on to make the assertion that the seal is unconstitutional pursuant to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
To fix this problem, it needs to be understood that nothing was violated when Mrs. Foster entered the school and saw the emblem. In order to fix this issue, it really needs to be understood that she is trying to take away the expression of religion freedom in the schools. In order for this issue to be fixed, we have to understand that this concern has been under attack long before Mrs. Foster accusations against the school. Actually, today in America, freedom of religion is basically just slipping away from us at the moment, especially in this city. It is obvious that we are probably losing it because we not really doing what it takes to make sure that we are doing all we can to make sure it is being preserved properly. We understand that we are basically losing it is supposed to mean and also how it basically works. Many in this city understand the fact that freedom is a word that is loaded, an icon like the American flag.
As a political leader I am sure that you are aware that in this city the first right which is guaranteed in the first line of the first article of the Bill of Rights, is the right to freedom of religion. Yet again, if we as a people in this city do not really get an understanding of what freedom of religion means, and where it comes from, it can be taken away from us just in the same way that Mrs. Foster is trying to do.
The basic idea of freedom of religion is that no one, especially a citizen like Mrs. Foster, should be allowed to prohibit anyone in the town from expressing their religion even if it is on a seal that they do not approve of. As a political leader, it is wise for you to understand the fact that to force others to support a church or admit belief in a church's tenets is as much a violation of their civil rights as is preventing them from practicing their religion.
As President Clinton made clear in his speech making the point that one component of freedom of religion is freedom of conscience. This is the freedom to hold and express our ideas sincerely. It is our civil right to accept or reject any religion or religious idea, and to do so openly and honestly without fear or coercion. However, it is unfortunate that it has hit our educational system in this city. Schools do more than train children's minds. They also help to nurture their souls by reinforcing the values they learn at home and in their communities. As a politician, it is obvious that you would agree with Clinton speech when he stated that I believe that one of the best ways we can help out schools to do this is by supporting students' rights to voluntarily practice their religious beliefs, including prayer in schools. As a political leader, it would be wise for you to understand the fact that for more than 200 years, the First Amendment has protected our religious freedom and allowed many faiths to flourish in our homes, in our work place and in our schools. Obviously understood and wisely applied, it does work.
In going back in our countries history, there have been other cases similar to what Mrs. Foster is trying to bring on the city. For example, In July of 1996, the Saint Louis School Board had adopted a district wide policy using these rules. While the school district had formerly permitted definite religious activities, it had never spelled them out before, turning into a lawsuit over the privilege of a student to pray before lunch in the cafeteria. With this case, we as citizens of this town can learn a few things in helping against the claims from Mrs. Foster. First of all, going back to the case of 1966, the creation of an evidently clear policy using the guidelines endorsed the school board and the family of the student to reach at an equally acceptable settlement.
To even bring up other cases that can be useful and solving our current problem, let us not forget a case that was decided last year in a United States District Court in Alabama, (Chandler v. James) concerning student introduced prayer at school connected events, the court tutored the DeKalb County School District to preserve for movement in the library of each school a copy of the presidential strategies.
The great benefit of the presidential guidelines, nevertheless, is that they permit school districts to evade combative arguments by evolving a common accepting that is among students, teachers, parents and the wider community that the First Amendment does in fact deliver plenty room for spiritual expression by students even though at the same time upholding freedom from government supported religion.
As a leader, it is very important that in these situations, the development and use of these presidential strategies were not and are not isolated events. Somewhat, these guidelines are part of a continuing and rising struggle by teachers and America's religious community to discover a new common ground. To add some points to the situation for help, let us not forget that in April of 1995, for instance, thirty-five religious groups had delivered "Religion in the Public Schools: A Joint Statement of Current Law" that the Department represented from in increasing its own procedures. Following the issue of the presidential rules, the National PTA and the Freedom Forum together printed in 1996 "A Parent's Guide to Religion in the Public Schools" which put the strategies into an easily comprehensible question and answer arrangement. As a leader, you can learn and study from this format in addressing that charges from Mrs. Foster regarding the school seal.
In the last two years, I understand that as a political leader that you have held three religious-education summits to notify faith communities and educators regarding the guidelines and to reassure sustained discourse and collaboration within constitutional limits. A lot of religious communities have communicated with local schools and school systems to propose their assistance on account of the clearness delivered by the guidelines. The United Methodist Church has providing reading tutors to numerous schools, and Hadassah and the Women's League for Conservative Judaism have both been very active in as long as local schools with delivery for summer reading programs.
The guidelines we are releasing today are the same as originally issued in 1995, except that changes have been made in the sections on religious excusals and student…