Lake Local Schools in Stark County, Ohio used to have the following values statement:
Mission: Providing education to achieve success.
Vision: To be the best organization for learning.
We Value: Responsibility, honesty, respect, integrity, commitment, belief in God and religious freedom, our community, our partnerships, and every person as a unique individual with the ability to acquire and apply knowledge.
Why is a public school board suggesting that belief in god is something of value? If I’m a student of staff member in the district and I don’t believe in god, am I not valued? Who knows. The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote them a stern letter requesting the phrase’s removal — a lawsuit could have followed. That was a couple years ago.
As of Monday, that value statement has changed for the better because a god no longer appears in it. It now reads:
We Value: Responsibility, honesty, respect, integrity, citizenship, commitment, our community, our partnerships and every person as a unique individual with the ability to acquire and apply knowledge.
Now those are things worth valuing.
It’s like god was never in there to begin with, just as it should be.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation welcomed the revision of the values statement.
“We think that’s great,” said Rebecca Markert, an attorney for the Foundation. “We’re very pleased with that development.”
No lawsuits needed, either. It just took the school board a couple years to finally make the correct decision. Whoever wrote the original values statement could’ve saved everyone all this hassle by simply leaving “belief in god” up to parents and their children.
The same newspaper once ran this image to go along with their coverage of this story:
Let’s assume those kids actually believe that and their parents didn’t put them up to it. They wore those shirts in defense of the old Values statement. But I remember seeing that picture and thinking, “YES! That’s fine! No one’s trying to take away your right to believe in a god!” The students have that right. The school board members have that right. The school district does not, and that’s what we’re fighting over. It’s amazing how many Christians don’t understand that.