Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oklahoma Couple Wins Fight Over Bible Signs

click to read full story from News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa couple says it does pay to fight Tulsa City Hall. They were told signs at their business violated city ordinance, but they appealed and won Tuesday.

They say it was never about a city ordinance for them, it was about religious freedom.

The sign squabble started because the couple, who sell mobile homes, wrapped the ends of some of them with large pictures that contained a Bible verse and a picture of a family reading a Bible.

The city didn't get complaints, but sign inspectors told the couple the signs required a permit. The city of Tulsa Board of Adjustment didn't agree.

Mobile homes need plastic around the ends to keep them protected from the weather. Over time, that plastic can rip and tear and looks pretty ugly.

So, Mike and Brenda Harrison decided to replace it with wraps, as a way to make it more attractive and to share their Christian beliefs.

"The intent was to promote what I feel is important. I mentioned to a lot of folks that if someone saw a picture of a family reading a Bible, they might think, I want to sit down and do that," said Mike Harrison, LifeWay Mobile Homes.

City sign inspectors say the wraps were promotional business signs that draw attention to the business, so require a permit.

The Harrisons' attorney argued the wraps don't promote the business because there's no company logo, no price, no anything about the mobile home business on them.

"It's simply a photograph promoting Mr. Harrison's belief in God, nothing else," said Brad Barron, Harrisons' Attorney.

The inspectors argued even signs promoting non-commercial items must meet size limitations. After an hour long discussion, it boiled down to an exemption in Tulsa's sign ordinance that says if it's a work of art or if it's a symbol of a religious organization, the sign doesn't need a permit and doesn't have a size limitation.

Three of the four board members agreed the wraps fall under those exemptions. Mike says it's more than a legal victory to him.

School Teachers In Uproar Over New Rap, Hip Hop Program Saying It's Offensive

click to read full story from News9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Some Oklahoma City teachers said their latest teaching tools are inappropriate and offensive.

It's a program called Flocabulary, and a small group of teachers is calling the content into question. However, it's not just the content that is in question, but how funds were approved and spent.

In Oklahoma City, the program is used for at-risk students.The alternative students can be anyone from a hospitalized student to a student in juvenile detention. It serves students in alternative educations from grades 3 to 12.

The idea behind Flocabulary is using hip hop and rap music to help students learn facts. The method is something educators agree on, but there are concerns about how the material is written. The idea of a program that will grab the attention of students is positive.

"Kids learn differently. One thing we definitely want to do as a school district is use different techniques," said Oklahoma City School Board Chairperson Angela Monson.

The Flocabulary system features vocabulary books, math books and social studies. It cost the Oklahoma City School District $95,000 in federal funds.

A concerned teacher spoke out about the books because of his concerns over content. He is worried for his job and wished to remain anonymous.

"The public has been cheated. The students have been cheated. Teachers have been cheated," he said.

One of the chapters in the U.S. history book is called O.D.W.M., which stands for Old Dead White Men. It's a section that aims to teach students about past presidents.

"Our founding fathers deserve a little more respect than that," said the concerned educator.

Each section of the textbooks comes along with an original rap that centers on the chapter's subject. One about pilgrims refers to "Sipping Henny." The phrase is later defined as sipping Hennesey Cognac.

"I just don't think it's appropriate. I don't think any parent would want their child looking at that material," the anonymous teacher added.

The vocabulary books quote real rap songs. Other books reference rap artists like Tupac and his song "Hit Em' Up." The quotes used in the material are clean but come from lyrics full of profanity, sex, and violence. Some of the raps referenced use incorrect grammar.

"I think some of it is very questionable, and when the district hears or someone brings something like this to our attention we respond immediately," said Angela Monson, Oklahoma City School Board Chairperson, who first heard about the Flocabulary concerns on Tuesday.

Monson said an investigation will soon be underway.

"We need to find out to what extent it is being used, how it's being used, and make sure any inappropriate use stops," she said.

While the school board commented on the issue, district officials did not have any comment.

Flocabulary is based in New York. The founders said it's being used and is successful in around 10,000 schools across the county, but critics in Oklahoma said they don't want it here.

McDonalds Happy Meals On Trial In San Francisco

McDonalds Happy Meals are put on trial in San Francisco Saying that they entice children to eat bad food through offering them prizes and toys with their meals. So does this mean San Francisco Will also be taking Cereal Companies to Court for putting prizes in cereal boxes too? This whole thing is nothing but a socialist movement to gain more and more control over the American People and what we can and can't eat and buy to eat.

Parents Express Their Anger and Concerns About School Wanting To Teach Sex Ed To Children As Young As 5 yrs old

Parents of Helena School Students Express Their Concerns About new Sex-Ed Classes the school wants to teach to children as young as 5 years old.