Local News

Schools' Rules for Speakers Irk Some, Including Sheriff

Posted February 22, 2008
Updated February 23, 2008

Wake County Public School System

— At least two public officials said they feel insulted by a new Wake County school system policy to limit what invited speakers say in area classrooms.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison and Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly said they have refused to sign a waiver that the school district requires of all outside speakers.

The waiver was devised last year after an Enloe High School teacher invited an anti-Muslim speaker to his class. The speaker handed out pamphlets entitled, "Why Women Should Not Marry Muslims."

The guidelines in the waiver cover subject matter, behavior and appearance, and speakers must agree not to denigrate other cultures, races or religions.

"Who wouldn't want more accountability and more structure?" school district spokesman Michael Evans said. "It allows guest speakers coming into the class to know what's expected of them."

Harrison said he understands the intent of the policy, but he said it should be used on a case-by-case basis.

"I am offended by it. I'm an elected official. I'm not going to sign it," he said.

Evans said Wake schools officials have received very few complaints about the policy.

"You would love to be able to say common sense prevails for everyone. But your common sense and mine don't always align, and that's where we get into the problems I think we ran into in the past."

Robert Escamilla, the Enloe High teacher, was reassigned to an alternative school after parents complained about the anti-Muslim speaker. He sued the district in November, alleging his rights were violated and demanding that the transfer be rescinded. That case is pending.


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  • sonjiarose Feb 28, 2008

    Haggis Basher - Religion impacts our entire world greatly. Wars are still fought to this day over people’s beliefs, foreign policy are dictated by religious customs, school dress codes are lenient toward religious dress etc. - Whether you believe in one or not is your own personal decision. By your own comments, you are an Atheist, by my own beliefs I am a Christian. I acknowledge that you have a right to believe what you choose, but it is very narrow-minded of you to criticize and speak down to the great majority of people who profess faith in a greater being. That is what you have done here today. Just as racial prejudice is encouraged by some, you are encouraging religious prejudice. Your comments here show that you believe ALL people of faith are unintelligent, superstitious and dim-witted. I am glad you feel you have all the answers & are content with what you know & believe. I am sorry, however, that you feel it necessary to humble others to make yourself fell more intellectual

  • enderby Feb 25, 2008

    "Teaching or encouraging fiction as fact is not a thing our schools should be doing." I have to agree with you on that. Schools do not seem to have the ability to present these ideas in any useful way.

  • haggis basher Feb 25, 2008

    "It is so sad to me that we argue about whether religious beliefs contain truth or not."
    A beautiful lie is still a lie. I have no problem with the Bible being in the fiction section next to Beowulf, the Illiad, etc. The King James V version is often writing at its best but like Shakespeare we can read and enjoy it without ever thinking it is an accurate historical account of anything.
    Teaching or encouraging fiction as fact is not a thing our schools should be doing.

  • enderby Feb 25, 2008

    It is so sad to me that we argue about whether religious beliefs contain truth or not. Technology has progressed, but as a race our thinking seems to be more simplistic and unwaveringly literal every day. For many people religion is loaded with symbolism which focuses your thinking and helps you achieve special insights. The arguments on both sides are childish. I am not religious, but I can appreciate the sophisticated thinking that can emerge from religion explored on a higher plane. At one time our kids could have gained from these speakers. I doubt they are equipped to rationally handle these ideas when it is doubtful their parents could do it.

  • haggis basher Feb 25, 2008

    "fairy tales like global warming,evolution "
    Well the world is very probably is getting a little warmer, whether or not its man caused and even if so, that we could realistically do anything about it, is another question. As regards Evolution there is enormous weight of evidence that it is fundamentally correct whilst there is zero (as in none) that supports creationism or its politically correct offspring "intelligent design".

  • ahh-fooie.... Feb 25, 2008

    I have to agree the "basher" these fairy tales like global warming,evolution and various other things like this are fabrications to get the responses they want!!

  • haggis basher Feb 25, 2008

    "Way past time Christians stood up and be counted-but I'm sure we will not hear that story."

    Way past the time that we should be discussing rival fairy tales in Public Schools. Wake up! none of them are true. There is no Heaven. No Hell, No God(s), No Satan. All are stories made up in the long distant past to explain what we could not yet understand and to frighten folks into doing what they were told.
    You get one life, make the best of it as you can.
    Curious though as to what Donnie felt he couldn't say?

  • nanny Feb 25, 2008

    Tell the story about the Muslim women going into the classroom after the 1st speaker to speak and a christian girl speaking out to read a bible verse to contradict the speakers and they
    asked her to leave the room. Way past time Christians stood up and be counted-but I'm sure we will not hear that story.