Holland-area district wants commencem...

Holland-area district wants commencement speech changed

There are 31 comments on the WZZM Grand Rapids story from Jun 7, 2008, titled Holland-area district wants commencement speech changed. In it, WZZM Grand Rapids reports that:

The Holland Sentinel and The Grand Rapids Press report that if Jed Grooters doesn't agree to make changes requested by West Ottawa Public Schools, he wasn't expected to be allowed to speak at tomorrow's ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WZZM Grand Rapids.

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WhatIsWrongWithP eople

Grand Rapids, MI

#1 Jun 7, 2008
Good for them!! I applaud them for taking the unpopular, but ethical stance.
what

United States

#2 Jun 7, 2008
WhatIsWrongWithPeople wrote:
Good for them!! I applaud them for taking the unpopular, but ethical stance.
whats wrong with you? let the kid say whats on his mind.

“LET'S GO RED WINGS!!”

Since: Aug 07

America

#3 Jun 7, 2008
Hogwash! WO could really use to listen to a bit of the Bible. Maybe that's why this kid did so well in school.
AMAZING

Aurora, CO

#4 Jun 7, 2008
We all learn lessons in different ways!! Why can't the kid share what he has learned. Maybe it will inspire others!! If the "non-christian" people are allowed to speak, why can't the "Christian" people?!! At school you teach people to speak their minds - but now you tell them they can't!!
Relax

United States

#5 Jun 7, 2008
Seems like the "Liberal" left is winning another one. As I recall they still haven't found Madelyn Murray O'Hare so until they do let the kid talk for two minutes. This is supposedly why are troops are overseas so this kid has the freedom of speech, afterall he's not asking anyone to pray just qouteing a verse from the bible. That's no different than qouteing Shakespere or the Dali-Lama so leet the kid talk. Oh and for Whatswrongwithpeople, if you want to be a follower fine but some of us can still think for ourselves and can understand how and what is being said in the proper context..........we don't need the Goverment to tell what is exceptional and what isn't..
Atheist

Zeeland, MI

#6 Jun 7, 2008
I'm not religious, but I do think he should be allowed to say what he would like. I am also a firm believer in the separation of church and state.

When he gives his speech, he is not representing the government. He is representing himself, and himself only. It is very different for a teacher to lead prayer in a classroom to having a student include some excerpts from the bible during his valedictorian speech.

I do believe that there is a fine line. At my graduation, there was a section in the graduation ceremony where a prayer was led. I see that as a violation where I do not see the kid giving his valedictorian speech as one.

Just my two cents.
roth

Baldwinsville, NY

#7 Jun 7, 2008
WhatIsWrongWithPeople wrote:
Good for them!! I applaud them for taking the unpopular, but ethical stance.
Seig Heil!!!!!
Amy

Fremont, MI

#8 Jun 7, 2008
I sent an email to the superintendent. This is a copy of it.

Dear Mr. Koeze,

I just read a news blurb on WZZM 13's website stating that you are making one of your valedictorians change his speech due to some biblical content. Your district says it is a violation of church and state. I think if you would do some homework you would find that this is not a violation. The Alliance Defense Fund which is a large group of lawyers across the nation have filed cases on behalf of Christians who have had their rights encroached on by schools that think the same as you do. The schools have been the looser.

For EXAMPLE: Adler v. Duval County School Board
In December 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appeal by the Duval County School Board of an ADF victory that upheld the right of students to speak about their faith and to pray at graduation ceremonies. ADF had been funding this case for eight years.

The Alliance Defense Funds website is:http://www.alliancedefensef und.org/about/Default.aspx

The above case is listed under victories, then related links: Supreme Court Victories.

I would hope you would reconsider your decision towards this student.

It saddens me that the religion this country was founded on is being gagged.

The article I read for your reference:

Holland-area district wants commencement speech changed

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich.(AP)_ A school district has asked a West Ottawa High School co-valedictorian to change his planned two-minute commencement speech that was to include biblical references.

The Holland Sentinel and The Grand Rapids Press report that if Jed Grooters doesn't agree to make changes requested by West Ottawa Public Schools, he wasn't expected to be allowed to speak at tomorrow's ceremony.

Grooters says he intends to obey whatever decision the school made.

Grooters says he was thinking about what lesson he could relate to his classmates and their families and was inspired during a Bible study session.

The district includes part of Ottawa County near Holland in western Michigan. It concluded that allowing him to read the speech would violate the constitutional separation of church and state.

Sincerely,
Amy
Ron

United States

#9 Jun 7, 2008
You have got to be kidding me. What is happening to our society when we sensor speech based upon religious content? God help us all!
Let him say what he wants

Holland, MI

#10 Jun 7, 2008
WhatIsWrongWithPeople wrote:
Good for them!! I applaud them for taking the unpopular, but ethical stance.
Is this your graduation or his? This is the last major event of his high school career he should be able to do what he wants.
Neko

United States

#11 Jun 7, 2008
Keeping bibles and prayers out of public school graduations is nothing but a Good Idea!

Think Holland would mind someone sacrificing a goat or chickens at a graduation ceremony? How about a naked "priestess" chanting?

Why are only the folks who "claim" to be "christians" are allowed to have their prayers at government functions?

What about the folks who just follow the examples of Christ without claiming to be members of any "organized" religion?

As long as there are Americans persecuted for their religious beliefs... the CINO's aught to keep their faith to themselves...lest they become hunted like 20 point bucks!

CINO = "christian" in name only...

Plenty of CINOS running the elephant and donkey parties and control the media "content".

My faith is illegal....

And I am sick and tired of others trying to shove their faith down my throat in public when I cannot do the same.

God Bless the Second Amendment...and the Patriots posed to end the "Coup" against the Constitution called the "Faith Based Innitiatative"!

Any Congressperson who voted for it should think about leaving the USA Pronto if they know what is good for them!!!
Disgusted

United States

#12 Jun 7, 2008
What a bunch of HOGWASH !!! Young Mr. Grooters is in the co-valedictorian position partially because his faith has given him the dedication to work hard. Why shouldn't he share his inspirations and lessons learned just because they are referenced in the Bible? I simply do not see the connection where it would violate separation of church and state.
butch

Holland, MI

#13 Jun 7, 2008
the socialist at west Ottawa are the same people who supported 'the national day of silence" ( gay day ), but they wont allow a bible verse.
time to have the entire west Ottawa liberal school board removed, they are nothing but filthy stinking liberals.
bob boboroni

Grand Rapids, MI

#14 Jun 7, 2008
I am willing to bet my last falafel that if the speech was from the koran, it would be allowed.
yep

Ann Arbor, MI

#15 Jun 8, 2008
Amy wrote:
I sent an email to the superintendent. This is a copy of it.
Dear Mr. Koeze,
I just read a news blurb on WZZM 13's website stating that you are making one of your valedictorians change his speech due to some biblical content. Your district says it is a violation of church and state. I think if you would do some homework you would find that this is not a violation. The Alliance Defense Fund which is a large group of lawyers across the nation have filed cases on behalf of Christians who have had their rights encroached on by schools that think the same as you do. The schools have been the looser.
For EXAMPLE: Adler v. Duval County School Board
In December 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appeal by the Duval County School Board of an ADF victory that upheld the right of students to speak about their faith and to pray at graduation ceremonies. ADF had been funding this case for eight years.
The Alliance Defense Funds website is:http://www.alliancedefensef und.org/about/Default.aspx
The above case is listed under victories, then related links: Supreme Court Victories.
I would hope you would reconsider your decision towards this student.
It saddens me that the religion this country was founded on is being gagged.
The article I read for your reference:
Holland-area district wants commencement speech changed
HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich.(AP)_ A school district has asked a West Ottawa High School co-valedictorian to change his planned two-minute commencement speech that was to include biblical references.
The Holland Sentinel and The Grand Rapids Press report that if Jed Grooters doesn't agree to make changes requested by West Ottawa Public Schools, he wasn't expected to be allowed to speak at tomorrow's ceremony.
Grooters says he intends to obey whatever decision the school made.
Grooters says he was thinking about what lesson he could relate to his classmates and their families and was inspired during a Bible study session.
The district includes part of Ottawa County near Holland in western Michigan. It concluded that allowing him to read the speech would violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
Sincerely,
Amy
I believe it should have been sent to a MS Koeze. I think it is a female.

“Dude, Where's my car?”

Since: Jan 08

Location hidden

#16 Jun 8, 2008
Disgusted wrote:
What a bunch of HOGWASH !!! Young Mr. Grooters is in the co-valedictorian position partially because his faith has given him the dedication to work hard. Why shouldn't he share his inspirations and lessons learned just because they are referenced in the Bible? I simply do not see the connection where it would violate separation of church and state.
I agree! The young man earned the right to speak at graduation, let him speak.

“Taz say Hi”

Since: Jan 08

Holland,MI

#17 Jun 8, 2008
Hurley35 wrote:
<quoted text>I agree! The young man earned the right to speak at graduation, let him speak.
I agree. Let him speak. As stated above, he is speaking for himself, not the school, so he should be allowed to say what he wants. And I'm glad he's sticking to his guns and insisting on his free speech rights.

“Taz say Hi”

Since: Jan 08

Holland,MI

#18 Jun 8, 2008
WhatIsWrongWithPeople wrote:
Good for them!! I applaud them for taking the unpopular, but ethical stance.
He's the one taking the ethical stance, not the school. He's not representing the school when he speaks, but rather himself.
Gail in Wyoming

Canton, MI

#19 Jun 8, 2008
That's too bad for this young man. He wrote a speech that he felt was uplifting and positive for his school, and because it contained biblical passages, he can't recite it.

I commend him for this. He'll do what he has to do, but to say he was inspired by his Bible Study Class was so uplifting to me. I'm sure his family are very proud of him. It looks to me like he's on his way to a successful future.

“Police Assault! ”

Since: Mar 08

Edmond, OK

#20 Jun 8, 2008
Congratulations Jed!

You are a great testimony. It is hard to believe that anyone from a country that fights for freedom of speech as we do would defend those having authority at your commencement ceremony.

I hope you have time to share a few verses with us and explain how you were encouraged by them.

Your brother in Christ,
Dan

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