Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hillsborough Schools Take Stand for Tolerance

The Tampa Tribune | Editorial | April 14, 2012  | [Original Article]

The sensitivity with which the Hillsborough County School Board ended a controversy over speakers in the classroom stands in commendable contrast to the behavior of the self-appointed thought police who peddled this display of bigotry.

A small but vocal group demanded the board adopt a policy that would keep Islamic speakers from the classroom. The move came after the local director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations spoke at Steinbrenner High School. The presentation was appropriate and well received. But that didn't stop the activists who weren't there from likening CAIR to terrorists and Islam to pedophilia.

The school district's existing practice of leaving speakers to the discretion of teachers and principals has worked just fine. These front-line educators are entrusted to care for tens of thousands of schoolchildren every day. The issue had nothing to do with flawed policies; it had to do with keeping those with different beliefs from being seen and heard in the community.

The board was right to see this for what it was - a campaign of intolerance that has no place in education. The Tampa Bay area is full of accomplished people whose life experiences would enrich any classroom. Let's hope this intimidation tactic doesn't keep them from coming back.

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