CGE Condemns School Board Decision to Ban Wearing of Star of David
August 17, 1999
THE COUNCIL FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION CONDEMNS MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL BOARD
Decision to ban religious expression is a serious threat to students' civil liberties
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Council for Global Education today condemned the decision of the Harrison County, Mississippi, school board to prohibit a Jewish student from openly wearing the Star of David to class.
"This is a serious threat to a student's freedom of religious expression," said the organization's founder, Dr. Sunita Gandhi. "Ryan Green has every right to be proud of his religious heritage and to openly affirm his faith and community. The school board's assertion that the Star of David is a gang symbol is nothing short of ludicrous. To suggest that the Jewish faith is akin to a gang is an outrageous and discriminatory stereotype," Dr. Gandhi continued.
The Harrison County school board told Green's parents that the star would be considered a gang symbol, and wearing the pendant in open view may place their son in harm's way.
"This week, as students return to class in Littleton, Colorado, we should be gravely concerned that the first thing on school administrators' minds is taking expressions of spirituality out of the classroom - in fact, we should be doing the very opposite," Dr. Gandhi continued. "This is another irrational and ineffective reaction to violence in our schools. Recognizing that diversity, spirituality and the celebration of our neighbors' cultural heritage is the answer to our problems, and not the cause, will go a long way in ending this cycle of discrimination and violence."
The Council for Global Education urged President Clinton and other policy makers to support Green's right to religious expression.
"This action is unconstitutional, and we should all be outraged," Dr. Gandhi said. "Today, the school board has voted not to allow the Star of David. Tomorrow, they'll refuse to allow a cross, and next week they'll ban the Sri Yantra. No one is immune to this discrimination in the name of 'safety,' and we should all support Green's quest to wear his pendant in school - in full public display, and not hidden under his clothing, as the school administration has requested. Our country has forced too many people to hide their culture, beliefs and heritage for far too long. If we can't be proud of our own heritage, how can we expect others to respect our differences?" Dr. Gandhi concluded.
Media interested in speaking with Dr. Gandhi can conatct her at the following addresses.
The Council for Global Education envisions a 21st century where values such as peace, coexistence and an appreciation for diversity are intricately integrated into the educational environment. CGE is dedicated to the development of the child entering the next century through the creation and implementation of a curriculum that prepares children for success in the emerging global community.
CGE encourages and facilitates networking opportunities and ongoing dialogues through affiliated organizations and individuals and works to ensure that educators are more than teachers, and serve as facilitators for learning and role models for students. In addition, CGE provides tools, resources and guidance for developing a framework for implementation worldwide of a curriculum based on the four VUES of education: Universal Values, Global Understanding, Excellence in All Things and Service to Humanity.