When free speech and common courtesy collide

  • Article by: SUSAN HOGAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 24, 2012 - 10:28 PM

The Coon Rapids rosary controversy primarily reflects a lack of the latter.

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martiankingJun. 24, 1210:41 PM

What the young man shows is the current state of the lack of knowledge about religion and what it means for different people. I would not wear a yarmulke because it was a fashion fad because I know that's a symbol of the Jewish faith. The parents and the young man need to realize that, though the meaning behind wearing a rosary may mean one thing to him, it is not the proper thing to do, out of respect.

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comment229Jun. 25, 12 5:17 AM

I recently talked to a teacher from an inner city school, where these have been banned because they are related to gangs. This young man may not be mature enough to understand the implications of his actions, but his parents should be. It is not asking him a lot, if he is truly religious and I suspect he is not, to keep the rosary in his pocket. Most Christians, I think, would understand why. Bet if he did this and was told he could wear it like he wants after school hours, that he would not.... I am not trying to take sides here, but he is just seeing his side of the deal, and I feel for his predicament. Wonder what his ailing Grandmother would tell him what to do?

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Thumper5316Jun. 25, 12 6:18 AM

I was raised Catholic. The young man could have used the rosary and prayed for his grandmother and carried it in his pocket when not praying with them. The parents should have also known this and corrected his behavior; not called the newspaper.

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owatonnabillJun. 25, 12 7:05 AM

...And the tempest continues to bubble in the teapot. I suppose we can all be offended by what a person wears if we try hard enough. Would any one of us go out in public proudly sporting a swastika emblem on our jacket? Probably not if we value our hides--but the swastika (sun-wheel) symbol dates back to at least the Bronze Age and in various cultures past and present was a symbol with religious meaning as well as a good-luck symbol. I've seen pictures of swastika symbols carved in cathedrals hundreds of years old. I have a granddaughter who wears a pair of moon-crescent earrings, and another one who has earrings in the shape of stars. So far no one has complained that those particular objects offend them for religious reasons but both symbols have had religious connotations past and present and I suppose there are people out there would yowl loudly and publicly should either granddaughter show up sporting their particular bling. I don't think this kid should be wearing a Rosary in school but not for any overriding philosophical or religious reason. School is for learning, not making political or religious statements. It does not offend me for any reason other than that. We all need to lighten up a bit.

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nonewtaxesJun. 25, 12 7:38 AM

This situation makes a good case for school uniforms.

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phatcatpatJun. 25, 12 7:51 AM

I just got an education and admit I was wrong in criticizing the school. The kid needs to leave the rosary at home.

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alansonJun. 25, 12 8:11 AM

If you look at the Supreme Court's views on the subject of speech in the schools, you will discover that the right to freedom of speech is not checked at the schoolhouse door. The principal criterion in limiting speech (actual speech or symbolic speech) is not whether someone or some institution or person is offended, or whether the speech is construed to violate common courtesy, but whether the speech represents a threat to order within the educational environment of the school. Indeed, it would be strange if any religious institution could limit activities in a public school simply because the activity was "offensive." I'm offended by a lot of views that appear in the Star Tribune - that doesn't give me standing to limit the expression of those views. Preventing the wearing of a rosary simply because somebody is offended comes close to violating the student's free speech rights.

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nowilffare1Jun. 25, 12 9:21 AM

Thumper5316- Did you read the article? The boy is not Catholic and he is not even really religious... he just liked the way it looked as a necklace.

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gandalf48Jun. 25, 1210:06 AM

This is America, we have free speech here...even if that speech is offensive to a particular religion. If this kid wants to wear a rosary for is grandmother let him...if it's a safety issue then all necklaces should be banned...if it's offensive to a minority of people but not really distracting to the education process then you have to let him wear it remember the 1st Amendment?

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sandykuderJun. 25, 1210:49 AM

Wearing a religious symbol is protected speech. And I as recall, Mary Olson, AHSD Public Information Director, stated otherwise in THIS publication to what Scott and Madison state. It doesn't matter if Jake is a Christian or not. Wearing a religious symbol is protected speech. This is yet another attempt to limit speech by students in the AHSD. I certainly don't blame any one in the Balthazor household for not wanting to comment on this story. After all, Star Tribune has a reputation to uphold.

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