Homeschool dad reaches out to the community over a recent Bradley County School Boards decision to not allow his child to play football at Walker Valley High School!
This goes way beyond a child wanting to play football at Walker Valley! On the surface you may say….so what! He can play ball in the back yard with his parents! Right? Wrong!
The basic formula of a runaway governmental body, ie, the Bradley County Board of Education making decisions on a childs future, (who by the way touts that they will leave no child behind), while hearing a “NO” decision by a Tyrant Chairman that is way out of control.
Board members are being pressed by an oppressive Director under the tutelage of a an overregulating Department of Education.
State Representatives are “having backdoor meetings setting policy and making decisions” in the Chairmans office (Hello! Does the Sunshine Law still exist?) Board members being influenced into casting the deciding vote and a principal that misrepresents the truth about decisions and letters from his coaches! Local media sources refuses to shine the truth, possibly a social prejudice of lifestyle choices by his parents, which in this town carries alot of weight!
A misinterpretation of the rules, a tyrant chairman stating boldly that he doubts a law will ever be passed (sounds like insider information to me) mix in a dose of discrimination for this childs religious beliefs, coupled with “good ole boy” politics as usual and you have a recipe for disaster and what you have is a child that is discriminated against for wanting to play football.
We should be ashamed to act like a school board that is truly representative of the children in this community. The absurdity of it all is this child has two loving parents, a record of not “causing trouble”, “showed great teamwork” and has a “great attitude” with a desire to play on a team as a productive member of that team is not allowed to be a part of that team by a misdirected school board.
So what if this child doesnt play football! Right? No big deal, right! By the boards vote, it is no big deal! I can gaurantee you this young man that is not having his youth fulfilled, it is a big deal! A huge deal!
Sure, the family is balanced enough that this kid will survive without football, but for a politician to pull this proverbial rug out from under this child with beuracratic bs rubs me the wrong way.
We must end this discrimination against our children!
Contact the school board, Mr Weathers, Mr Coggins, Mr McDaniels and let them know you are unhappy with their decisions! Stand up Bradley County! Get busy!
Below are a few responses I have observed and what Mr Thompson has shared with me!
************* JACKSON COUNTY ****************
Jackson County apparently has passed a motion to allow homeschoolers to play, joining the ranks of the fair and open-minded.
******* BRADLEY COMMUNITY RESPONSE ***************
Some of the school board members and local ‘engaged’ businessmen who are in touch with the community indicate that there is an uproar in our community over this issue. The school board members are hearing from the community still on this issue. Attorney Jim Logan was said to have lampooned the school board decision on his weekly radio show this past Saturday. The Board members continue to receive letters on this. Keep it up.
******** LIES??? **********************
1) The administration either lied purposefully or didn’t do a bit of homework when Mr McDaniel said that the Tennessee School Board Association has recommended NOT allowing homeschoolers to play. This is in direct opposition to what Joel Mosely, their staff attorney stated on the TSBA website. I quote: “TSBA does NOT recommend a blanket prohibition of Homeschooled students.” Source: http://pdf.tsba.net/Board%20Secretary.2011.pdf The administration is trying to cover their rear by saying, “Oh, it was a meeting of statewide local TSBA representatives who voted on this.” The only problem with that is (a) these state reps are NOT the TSBA itself and do not speak for it officially, and Johnny McDaniel stated clearly that it was the TSBA which recommended AGAINST allowing homeschoolers to play and (b) these reps apparently made their resolution about homeschoolers in November 2010 — BEFORE the TSSAA had even made the new homeschool by-law. This is damage control only, but NOT the truth.
2) The administration covered up a lie when Dan Coggin stated that all of the coaches at Walker Valley are against homeschoolers participating. In fact, Mr Coggin turned toward Mr Thompson partly and made a passing reference to there being a “claim” that there are letters to the contrary. He may have even stated that he didn’t know anything about them. Director McDaniel sat there with his mouth shut knowing that he had personally received a copy of a letter from Coach Ted Lockerby and Coach Tony Spencer (freshman coach) in June stating that they BOTH wanted Mr Thompson’s son to play for Walker Valley. Mr McDaniel then apparently reprimanded Dan Coggin for coaches taking such an initiative (you know — exercising free speech). Dan Coggin then reprimanded the coaches for writing the letters. So Johnny McDaniel knew that the principal was not telling the truth when he said that none of the coaches at Walker Valley support allowing homeschoolers to play, but he did nothing to correct him, and he allowed the lie to stand. Does this make Johnny McDaniel complicit in a deliberate coverup designed to sway Dr Baker’s opinion?
3) The administration misrepresented the truth by stating that allowing Mr Thompson’s son to play would be some great paperwork burden on them. One interested party took ONE HOUR last week to sit down and write out the steps necessary for the administration to accomplish Mr Thompson’s son to play. Did the administration EVER bother to really look at what is required? The estimation is that it would cost Bradley Schools one to three hours TOTAL all year for the paperwork and interviews necessary to qualify this child. These men never bothered to give it the time of day because they were against it from the beginning. Their lack of work was presented to the board as severe confusion and cause of concern over the amount of headache and paperwork that this would cause them. The truth is, the real amount of work is minimal.
************** REPUBLICAN PARTY ***************
The Republican Party passed an item as part of the party platform this past April. This resolution, which passed UNANIMOUSLY, asked the TN legislature to draft a bill requiring school boards to allow homeschoolers to play. As part of the agenda from the state Republican Party, this bears considerable weight. Our legislators, if they want to be “in step” with their constituents have to sign off on this agenda. Which brings us to…
************ TROY WEATHERS’ STATEMENT **************
For those of you who have not seen the transcript of Mr Weathers comments which he made right before the vote, here it is:
TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDING OF COMMENTS
MADE IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO CALLING THE ROLL FOR VOTE:
Weathers: “Well, this morning, for the board members, I spoke with two of our legislators, and two of our legislators don’t believe that’s gonna happen, by the way. I don’t know if any of YOU have spoken with them, but I did. I had one in my office this morning, and he said he doesn’t believe that will ever come out of Nashville, because THEY believe fundamentally that it’s the board’s call and not their call and they shouldn’t be in that business. So, you see, rumor’s out that says the State’s gonna make us do that. I think it may not be exactly correct. It’s a possibility. Anything can happen. But I want you to know our two legislators said they’re not in favor of it, and they are not aware of anybody in Nashville pushing that to get the votes to make that happen, to force us to do something locally that they don’t think they’re supposed to be involved in. I talked to my legisla — I had one in my office this morning, so that’s not made up.”
Beaty: “They’re just not in favor of having legislation, not that they’re not in favor of homeschoolers participating …”
Weathers: “Well, the one that I had in my office is not in favor of homeschoolers participating, either. And that’s what he tells me. But he talked more on the legislation issue of him, them, telling us what we’re going to have to do, and he doesn’t believe that that’s gonna take place. Is there any other questions? (2 second pause) Call the roll.”
At that point, the vote was taken, and the one person who had described himself as a swing vote (Richard Baker) voted against the measure. So a complete charade of misinformation, lack of real study, and no real debate on the merits of the issue was presented by the Chairman and the Administration as a serious work session. The only people who took it seriously were Mrs Beaty, Mr Kelley and Mr Rose. How much was Dr Baker influenced by a series of untruths and discriminatory statements?
************* RESPONSE FROM LEGISLATORS **************
Sen Mike Bell has gone on record officially as stating:
I have never spoken to Troy about this issue. He and I have talked about home education before but this issue has never come up. I have always supported the concept of home educated students having the opportunity to participate in public school extra-curricular activities and I will continue to support it. I have been in office five years. Every year there has been at least one bill filed to allow home educated students to participate in public school athletics and I expect more to filed again this coming year.
Rep Kevin Brooks, when asked by a third party “Did you tell Troy that you are not in favor of Christian homeschoolers participating in Bradley’s sports” has stated that he was out of town, that Mr Weathers never asked him about it, and he has never told him that.
Rep Eric Watson has been evasive on this issue. TURN UP THE HEAT. Mr Thompson and Mr Brown (who also spoke at the work session in behalf of homeschoolers) have received similar responses. One of these is included below:
As a constituent myself, I have personal opinions on local issues because, I too have children in the system and pay taxes to local government. I vote in local elections but do not have a vote in local politics. It is common knowledge that State officials do not like getting involved in local issues So, I have expressed my hopes that the local elected officials work this out in a reasonable manner while taking their constituents opinions into consideration.
Why is Rep Watson afraid to come clean about this issue and simply state whether or not the conversation happened as Troy Weathers described? Did he indeed have a conversation with Troy Weathers about this issue and say the things ascribed to him? Someone needs to contact him and demand that he clarify the facts on this until the truth is known. If he refuses to clarify this, the Republican Party in Bradley County stands to be damaged by the bad press and ill will this is generating among a good sized portion of the community. Especially significant is that, if true, he would be in direct opposition to an unanimous resolution which will be part of the work packet for every Republican in the Tennessee legislature — a resolution he was supposed to have signed off on.
************ BANNER / TIMES FREE PRESS ***************
Keep writing letters to the editor. Express your outrage at what has happened in our community. This is, at base level, a discriminatory action against Christian homeschooled children. You need to realize that, and the leadership needs to have their feet held IN the fire on this.
************** KEEP PRAYING FOR THE THOMPSON FAMILY ****************
They are being faced with many decisions. No matter how friendly or patronizing the principals and administration want to appear, they have rejected their son. One homeschool Dad whose children attended one of the board sessions had to deal with crying children who were asking, “Why do these people not like us so much???” It’s a good question, especially in a community which is supposedly filled with so many Christians.
If you wish to contact Mr Thompson to pass along a note of encouragement or to offer your help or support in any way, you can reach him through his website at http://www.walkwithgod.com/ and if you wish to write a note of encouragement to David, you can do so at his website at http://www.52godlymen.com/