Friday, April 13, 2018

School District: Pro-Life Walkout Not 'Viewpoint Neutral,' Anti-Gun Walkout 'Viewpoint Neutral'

The Rocklin Unified School District in California where Rocklin High School student Brandon Gillespie has organized a pro-life walkout for April 11, said it would not officially sanction the event because it does not meet the school's criteria for special events and "is not viewpoint neutral," unlike the March 14 National School Walkout, which it said was a "remembrance activity" and "was considered viewpoint neutral."

However, the Rocklin school district also said, in a statement, that students who participate in #prolifewalkout on Wednesday would not face "disciplinary consequences," as long as they followed school rules.

Back on March 14, the youth arm of the Women's March organized a nationwide walkout at schools to remember the students and teachers killed on Feb. 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. by shooter Nikolas Cruz.  The #NationalSchoolWalkout was designed to remember the victims for 17 minutes. But it was also orchestrated, as the group states, "to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship."

The #NationalSchoolWalkout also issued demands that included banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and expanding background checks on to all gun sales. The organizers also opposed concealed carry reciprocity (allowing people to carry guns in any state). The walkout was very popular, with about 3,000 schools and 1 million students participating in the event.

Brandon Gillespie, 17, organized the pro-life walkout, he told CBS 13 Sacramento, "To honor all the lives of aborted babies pretty much. All the millions of aborted babies every year." He also made it clear that he wanted to see if the school would be fair: It allowed the anti-gun walkout, so would it allow the pro-life walkout?

"I would like to see if there really is a double standard and what will come of that," said Gillespie.

The website for the April 11 walkout, which takes place at 10AM (in all timezones), states that student participants "will walk out of our classes for 17 minutes of silence and prayer. We will stand silently outside honoring the 10 children who will violently die during that time at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. We will rally and demand the end of Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funded empire. We will kneel and pray for the end of legal abortion in our nation."

The website lists dozens of high schools and colleges where students reportedly will participate in the walkout. asked the Rocklin Unified School District if the students at its schools had permission to join in the pro-life walkout. In a statement from the chief of Commications and Community Engagement, Diana Capra, the district said, "Several students at Rocklin High School have requested permission to conduct a pro-life walkout and to receive the same accommodations as those given to students who participated in the remembrance activity on March 14th. Rocklin High School approved the March 14th event since it was organized as a remembrance activity which was considered viewpoint neutral, and it was a show of unity for students as part of a national conversation concerning school safety. This met the school district’s policy for assemblies and special events."

"The request to hold a pro-life walkout during instructional time does not fall under the school district's policy for assemblies and special events as it is not related to school and is not viewpoint neutral," said the district.  "However, if students choose to engage in a protest or a walk out they will be allowed to do so without disciplinary consequences, as long as they conduct themselves according to school rules."

The district further said, "Background: School officials have a duty to ensure a safe and conducive learning environment for all students. On March 14th, thousands of students across the nation participated in the National School Walkout, a planned protest that called for students to walk out of their classrooms at 10 am in response to Congress' inaction to do anything about gun violence occurring in schools.

"Rocklin High School students instead chose to organize a remembrance activity for the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting by assembling for 17 minutes in the high school's amphitheatre."

Students for Life of America (SFLA), which is helping to organize the pro-life walkout, said in an April 10 statement that the event "has gotten a slow walk from administrators," yet "still, more than 350 students and student group leaders from across the country have contacted Students for Life about their plans to stand with pregnant and parenting students on April 11."

“The Pro-life Generation has every right to exercise their free speech rights in defense of pregnant and parenting students,” said SFLA President Kristan Hawkins. “But we have found that some administrations have not embraced students who care about lives lost to abortion as they did students who cared about lives lost to gun violence. But you can’t open the door to one group of students and close it to another. Abortion has taken the lives of one-fourth of this generation, and we will remember those we’ve lost on Wednesday.”

Gillespie said that the Rocklin High School authorities delayed their decision on the walkout until essentially the last minute.

“They are not giving me any accommodation at all, except for the district policy of not punishing students for protesting," he said. "That is not the accommodation that I asked for; I asked for the same accommodation as the anti-gun protest, that teachers would be flexible in their lesson planning, and also for the availability of equipment that the anti-gun protestors were allowed to use."

"I really was not surprised when they told me that they were not going to give me the accommodations and that they were not going to sanction this walkout as they did the previous one," said Gillespie. 

"It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district, but I’m still going to be out there," he said.

Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder said, "This is a blatant case of content discrimination and arbitrary favoritism. Rocklin High School’s decision treats the Pro-life Walkout differently than the way the school treated the gun walkout, which violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection rights of every student participating in the Pro-life walkout."

"Life Legal is proud to fight for Brandon Gillespie’s rights to be treated the same as other students and to speak up for the nearly one quarter of his generation that will die from the scourge of abortion," said Snyder.


Rev. Graham: University of Tennessee's 'Sex Week' 'Simply Promoting Sin'

Commenting on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's currently ongoing "Sex Week," where nearly every imaginable perverted sexual practice is celebrated and promoted to young undergraduates, Rev. Franklin Graham said the school is "simply promoting sin" and "parents should take steps to see this stopped -- or pull their students out."

Franklin Graham, son of the late-, world-renowned preacher Billy Graham, further said that some media refer to the week-long event (April 6-12) as "Sodom & Gomorrah," and that the university is "pushing this filthy trash on young people whose parents are paying good money to send them [their children] for a quality education." Tuition for out-of-state undergrads is $31, 390 a year.

In an April 6 post on Facebook about the event, Rev. Graham wrote, "I’m saddened, disappointed—and yes, shocked—to see that University of Tennessee, Knoxville is promoting a 'Sex Week' for its students. This Fox News story refers to it as 'Sodom & Gomorrah.'"

"It’s even worse than the name sounds when you read the events and classes on their own website," said Graham. "They’re actually pushing this filthy trash on young people whose parents are paying good money to send them there for a quality education."

"What could Chancellor Beverly Davenport be thinking?" said the Christian leader.  "There’s nothing healthy or educational about all of this. It’s just simply promoting sin."

"I think parents should take steps to see this stopped—or pull their students out," said Graham.  Alumni and the residents of Tennessee who fund the university should make it clear that this does not have any place at their state university."

He continued, "I think pastors across this great state should speak out against it, and I hope Governor Bill Haslam will step in and make sure the group responsible is no longer allowed to do their damage at UT."

How degenerate is the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's "Sex Week"?

In its schedule of events, the student organizers (and their "faculty supporters") describe "Sex Week Carnival" as follows: "Cum one, cum all, to the Sex Week Carnival! Join us to kick off the week that 'makes Mardi Gras on Beale Street look like a Sunday School picnic,'* mingle with dazzling drag queens and fabulous circus performers, and be dazzled by our three-Nuva-ring circus. Show off your skills at sex trivia! Try your hand at the Condom Relay Races! Test your knowledge at the Lube Taste Test! Winning games gets you tickets, and tickets get you prizes like sex toys!"


China's 'Confucius Institutes' Are Unseemly And Senator Rubio Has A Good Idea For Dealing With Them

The Chinese government wants to polish its terribly tarnished image and one of the tactics it has been using is to influence the education of American college students.

Since 2004, the Chinese have been sponsoring “Confucius Institutes” at colleges and universities around the world that are willing to host them. A Chinese government agency pays for most if not all of the cost of the programs that cover Chinese language, culture and history. Since many students want to learn about China, that seems like a good deal that saves the school money.

Ah, but there is a catch: The Chinese are not merely interested in helping Americans learn about their language, culture and history, but want to color their perceptions of the current Chinese regime. With Chinese funding comes Chinese control over who may teach and what may be said.

In its 2017 report on these institutes, Outsourced to China, the National Association of Scholars documented many problems with them relating to academic freedom and responsibility. The report states that the Institutes “attract scrutiny because of their close ties to the Chinese government. A stream of stories indicates that intellectual freedom, merit-based hiring policies, and other foundational principles of American higher education have received short shrift in Confucius Institutes.”

One telling example of the way the Confucius Institutes try to slant perceptions and block criticism was the demand made by North Carolina State’s Institute in 2009 that the university rescind the invitation to the Dalai Lama to speak on campus. I included that instance in this piece I wrote for the Martin Centeron the NAS report.

Especially troubling for the academic integrity of colleges that accept a Confucius Institute is the control the Chinese exert over who may teach and what they may say. Criticism of Chinese human rights policies is not allowed; individuals who are known as opponents of the regime may not be part of the faculty. The Chinese want to project a blemish-free image to the world, and academic freedom doesn’t fit in with that objective.

Both the NAS and the Martin Center concluded that American schools ought to avoid getting entangled with what amounts to a Chinese government exercise in “soft power.” So did the University of Chicago, which closed down its Confucius Institute in 2014 following a faculty petitionthat called upon the administration to do so.

Now, at least one U.S. Senator has come to the same conclusion – Marco Rubio. In a letterdated March 12 to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray respectively), Rubio raised a red flag about the Institutes, stating “There is mounting concern, as articulated by senior intelligence officials at a recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Worldwide Threats’ about the Chinese government’s increasingly aggressive attempts to use ‘Confucius Institutes’ and other means to influence foreign academic institutions and critical analysis of China’s past history and present policies.”

That’s correct, but what does Senator Rubio propose?

First, he advocates greater transparency regarding foreign funding of higher educational programs. He advocates amending the Higher Education Act to lower the reporting threshold on reporting foreign funding from $250,000 to $50,000 and having that amount include the fair market value of in-kind gifts and services, since the Confucius Institutes often receive more than $100,000 per year worth of books and instructors paid by the Chinese government. Rubio explains, “It is in the interest of national security and institutional integrity to have information on potentially compromising gifts from foreign governments and agents of foreign governments.”

Second, Rubio wants to make colleges choose between federal funding and Chinese funding. “When a college or university accepts a Confucius Institute,” he writes, “it should become ineligible for a proportional amount of federal funding…. Conditioning a portion of federal money on the closure of a Confucius Institute is an important step toward limiting China’s pernicious influence on college campuses.”

Making those changes in the law would not prevent American colleges from accepting “Confucius Institutes” if they want them, but if they do so, they’d have to be more open about their funding and (probably more significantly), would see an offsetting decrease in their federal support.

I have long argued that we would be far better off if the federal government had nothing at all to do with education, but as long as we have the Higher Education Act and the leverage of federal aid money, we should use them to reduce if not eliminate this unseemly ploy to spread Chinese influence and obscure its human rights violations. Congress should include Senator Rubio’s language when it revises the Higher Education Act.


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