The San Diego Unified School Board decided that the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can no longer use the school facilities free of charge. They now want them to pay a fee! The school district was sued by an Evangelical Christian Group that wanted to use the school faculties for free Bible study groups. They were told they had to pay for the use of the school facilities! The Christian group argued, in a lawsuit, that they should be treated equally as the Scout troops in that like the Scouts they taught moral values.
The Board, in their infinite wisdom, agreed with the Christian Group. But, instead of allowing the group the use of the school facilities, they decided that they would instead start charging the Boy and Girl Scouts for the use of school facilities!! It appears as if they did this out of spite instead of considering the ramifications.
This school Board just doesn’t seem to get it. We, in the Mexican American community, struggle to find positive outlets for our youth. We seek outlets, other than those offered by gangs and other negative street influences, for our youth that will help us in building character. The Scouts have offered to our minority youth, as well as all youth, regardless of color or creed, the opportunity to grow and experience new ideas and alternatives to the harsh realities of everyday life.
We want our school facilities to become a hub of community activity. Our schools should be a central place for the gaining of positive and diverse learning experiences. We want our children and their families to look to the schools as a place that is serving our communities over and beyond the normal educational role they play. And, this is as it should be since these families pay for the facilities through their taxes. Schools are communal centers!
Scouts are a low budget opportunity that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to participate in. By and large, their annual cookie and popcorn sales covers the total cost of troop activities for the year, which includes camping, field trips, badges, and cookies and punch at each meeting. The biggest cost in scouting is the free time parents dedicate to providing a safe and positive experience for these youths. To add cost to a bare bones budget means that these troopers will have to spend more time fundraising instead of doing the things that build positive character.
We have to ask, what is wrong with Bible study on school grounds after school hours? Isn’t the Bible a profound piece of literature that should be read, discussed, and understood as part of the massive store of knowledge that has influenced and made the understanding of our world possible?
This school Board often talks about getting back to basics in the classroom. Maybe it is time they get back to basics and expand their vision on what the roles of schools are i.e. being a place of growth, education and a place where different ideas can be explored. Of course, you are well aware, that the study of religion is offered in our colleges for those that would like to gain an understanding of religion and the role that Religion has played in the development of the human race.