Craig Smith, Lake Norman, Lake Norman Charter discussed on WBT's Morning News w/ Bo Thompson
Craig Smith says parents and students have enjoyed using the facility I've never received a concern about the venue or graduation being at the park shirts and we've had a fantastic relation with a partner. They they'd done a tremendous job as you might expect the church has some bible verses posted around and some other religious symbols. And somebody who attended this year's graduation was offended. So that person contacted Americans United for separation of church and state. So what was the complaint that you got that? They just felt uncomfortable being in a church for the graduation. Yeah. And Smith is a lawyer for Americans United. They specialize in what their website calls high impact lawsuits over such things as the late Norman charter situation. In fact, they sued a school district in Illinois for having graduation in a church. N one is a public school and official public school event being held in a religious space. That is not okay, what the court says was whether the school intended to endorse religion or not to hold it in a place. Everything about a church is bent towards communicating religious message. And so to hold it in that place. Whether you intended it to or not actually does communicate an endorsement of religion principal Craig Smith says there never has been anything religious about their graduation ceremonies held at the church. Do you feel like you were shoving religion down people's throat by using a church by no means do I feel like there was any religious tone, obviously as a public charter school. There is no. Religious context to our graduation ceremony before during or after. But Smith says the school has decided to give into the demand rather than fight not trying fight it in court system due to the cost and the potential time. We have a lot of parents that are upset also upset outgoing county Commissioner Jim Puckett who represents the lake Norman area. It's one of those things where once again like many things in America. We're allowing an absolute crazy. Fringe group to overcome. What makes sense for ninety nine point nine percent of the population of vast majority of people would say absolutely no problem with is in fact habit. What does your group c is the harm here? The actual harm to someone harm is that when you sort of force people if they want to get their diploma that they've been working for you force them to go into a place that communicates religious messages. The message they get is really you ought to be a Christian this important event in your life is surrounded by the message of Christianity. So what does that say to that is graduating from the school or the Muslim again the school insist there was no religious soliciting going on just a graduation ceremony and principal Smith says he wishes the person who was offended would have talked to the school. We didn't get a chance to hear directly from whoever was it had those concerns that we might have been able to address them. We do not know who complained to Americans United about the graduation ceremonies held in a church. We asked the group if we could speak with the person and got no reply when you have one person can shut down everything because of their rather extremist views. I just seems a bit quirky to me at what point do you say, okay. One person defended and twelve hundred people aren't so the one person who's offended tough. You don't if they have a point under the United States constitution. So now one person who did not like going to a graduation in a church person. Who may never go to another lake Norman charter event is forcing the school to find a new place Commissioner, Jim Puckett and others. Argue people see religious signs and slogans all the time. They think this is an overreaction. They would probably like these Stephen bible verses on a billboard on the way to a high school gymnasiums. So you can choose to be insulted by something you see if you want. But the fact is there would be no religious overtones on any graduation, regardless of where the building is. So the lake Norman charter.