Anthem-protesting Olympian Gwen Berry might be a star throwing a hammer in track and field, but it took Dan Crenshaw to hit the nail on the head — so hard it hurts.
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Monday, the Texas Republican with a well-earned reputation for straight-shooting talk took a question about Berry’s tantrum over the weekend when she turned her back on the American flag and eventually covered her head while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played at Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
And as usual, Crenshaw captured the feelings of millions of Americans with his no-nonsense response.
“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” Crenshaw said. “She should be removed from the team. The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. It’s the entire point.”
Check it out here. The Berry question comes about the 7:40 mark:
“It’s one thing when these NBA players do it. OK, we’ll just stop watching. But now the Olympic team? And there’s multiple cases of this. They should be removed. That should be the bare, minimum requirement, is that you believe in the country [you’re] representing.”
Crenshaw had just finished talking about the dangers of critical race theory being given a prominent place in U.S. military instruction. Actions like the one Berry took on Saturday, he said, are just another example of its pernicious rot.
“This is the pathology that occurs when we’re teaching critical race theory into our institutions.
“Critical race theory, again, teaches that our institutions are racist. That our systems are deeply racist.
“You can’t see the racism, right? Because it’s subtle. And if you deny it, it’s because of your white fragility. But you’re teaching people this constantly.
“And this is what it results in. It results in these displays of hatred towards our own country. And it’s got to stop.”
Crenshaw, as most readers know, understands a good deal more about representing his country than almost any Olympian ever could. As a Navy SEAL, he gave an eye (and very nearly his life) in his nation’s service in Afghanistan in a 2012 IED blast.
In response to the Crenshaw interview, Berry published a tweet that not only rivaled New York Democratic diva Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in vanity and self-absorption, but also showed how badly she understands actual Americans.
Neither Crenshaw, the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts, nor the millions who agree with the Texan are obsessed with Berry.
What they are is outraged and sickened by the seemingly endless parade of celebrities, professional athletes and other Olympians who either don’t understand or refuse to accept that the nation they spit on with such venom is what is responsible for their success.
The United States stands at the summit of the world in economic and military power not because its institutions are “systemically racist” because it’s built on the oppression of its citizens.
The U.S. is the country it is because countless millions of individuals live a life of freedom unknown to the vast majority of the world’s population.
Childish displays like Berry’s over the weekend, or the NFL and NBA players who protest the national anthem, are possible only because the U.S. has, throughout its history, had a commitment to the freedom of expression of its citizens.
Has the commitment always been perfectly fulfilled? Of course not. No human institution will ever be perfect. Does the country have a history of institutional racism? Of course it does. (Democrats can look in the mirror there. They might see Joe Biden looking back.)
But the point is that the iniquities of the past get further removed with every passing decade. It’s a country that was built on ideals, not on oppression.
Americans — whether natural-born or immigrants — understand that in their bones.
If that’s the country Ms. Berry is so ashamed of, she might not want to represent the rest of us in Tokyo next month. It’s not a question of whether she should be removed from the team so much as a question of why she would ever want to be on it in the first place — unless it was for fame and endorsement possibilities and celebrity connections.
That would make her preening superiority a grift of the lowest order, and one Crenshaw’s point could hurt badly.
“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” Crenshaw said.
And he hit the nail right on the head.
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Governor Ron DeSantis Slams Pro-Abortion Politicians: They “Sell Out to the D.C. Establishment”
National | Steven Ertelt | Jun 14, 2021 | 9:06AM | Washington, DC
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a long pro-life track record as the leader of one of the largest states in the nation. He has signed pro-life legislation to save babies from abortions and worked hard to protect Florida’s seniors from the coronavirus at a time when Democrat governors like Andrew Cuomo signed orders that resulted in killing thousands.
When it comes to the politicians in Washington, most Americans are tired of the backroom deals that are made and the shady “swamp” that President Donald Trump and so many Americans strongly oppose. In recent comments, DeSantis says pro-abortion politicians are the ones who are usually mired in that political muck and said they are the “first ones” to “sell out to the D.C. establishment.”
In an interview Wednesday with the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Mary Margaret Olohan, DeSantis responded to Olohan’s question about how American voters can distinguish between a superficial politician who simply wants their votes to get ahead, and one who is willing to fully engage in the important cultural battles.
“The people that aren’t supportive of the life cause, they’re not people you want to be in a foxhole with on any other political battle. They are the first ones who will sell out to the DC establishment when the going gets tough.”
One of the keys to determining that character difference lies in whether the politician is truly supportive of the right to life, the governor said.
“I think, here’s what I tell people, in terms of right to life,” he explained. “It’s important, obviously on its own, but the people that, that aren’t supportive of the life cause, they’re not people you want to be in a foxhole with on any other political battle as well.”
Well here’s the thing on right to life. When I became governor, I inherited the most liberal Supreme Court in the United States: there was a four to three split by the time I became governor. But I was able to replace three of the liberals to make it a six to one court, and that’s important because Florida had the worst abortion jurisdiction – jurisprudence – in the country, way worse than even things like Planned Parenthood v. Casey. So, we’ve changed that. Now we’ve been able to advance pro-life legislation.
Senate Bill 404 requires a girl under 18 to have at least one parent’s permission before going through with an abortion. The bill includes exceptions for medical emergencies and allows a judge to grant permission instead of a parent. It also increases the penalties for not caring for an infant born alive during an abortion.
The governor said he wanted to pro-life Americans to know he has a “clear message that we will do everything we can to protect the unborn.”
“Building a culture of life requires us to champion policies that fight for our most vulnerable”‘ the excerpt read. ‘Today is about applauding the tireless work of advocates like the Susan B. Anthony List team who defend life with vigor.”
DeSantis touted his record of appointing judicial conservatives to the Florida Supreme Court, saying he favored state Supreme Court justices who “respect the rule of law and religious liberty.”
In fact, last year, DeSantis chose Jamie R. Grosshans, a pro-life attorney from the Orlando area, to fill a vacancy on the state’s highest court.
Grosshans has a strong conservative record and has worked with the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Central Florida Christian Legal Society. In addition to doing pro bono work for pro-life pregnancy resource centers, she and her husband also have been advocates for young girls who are being pressured into aborting their unborn babies.
Exclusive — Nellis Air Force Base Hosts First-Ever Drag Queen Show: ‘Essential to the Morale, Readiness
June 21, 2021
The Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada recently hosted its first-ever drag queen show at one of its on-base dining and entertainment clubs, according a base spokesperson.
Nellis Air Force Base said in an email statement to Breitbart News:
Nellis Air Force Base and the 99th Air Base Wing hosted its first-ever drag show Thursday, June 17, at the Nellis Club. The event was sponsored by a private organization and provided an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the history and significance of drag performance art within the LGBT+ community.
Ensuring our ranks reflect and are inclusive of the American people is essential to the morale, cohesion, and readiness of the military. Nellis Air Force Base is committed to providing and championing an environment that is characterized by equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.
The drag queen show came to light after Air Force veteran podcaster “BK” posted a digital flyer for the event that read: “DRAG-U-NELLIS” and “CLASS IS IN SESSION.”
“Discover the significance of Drag in the LGBT+ Community at the Nellis Club,” it said.
It was scheduled for Friday, June 17, at 5 p.m. and “Sponsored by the Nellis Top 3.”
The “Top 3” at Nellis Air Force Base is a social and professional organization established to “enhance the morale, esprit de corps, of all enlisted personnel assigned to the Wing and to facilitate cooperation between members of the top three enlisted grades,” according to its private Facebook page.
“The base Top III will provide a forum for its members to meet, share personal experiences and expertise, and assist one another. It may function as an added channel of communication within the chain of command, between the commander, and the enlisted force on Nellis AFB,” it said.
One person who attended the drag queen show posted on her social media account, “Had a fun night … at a drag Queen show at nellis afb last night.”
The Nellis Club, according to the Nellis Force Support Squadron website, is a consolidated club offering a “versatile dining and entertainment experience for all its members.”
“We now serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight meal from Mon – Fri as well as brunch, dinner, and a midnight meal on Sat, Sun, Holidays, and Family Days. All meals are open to Essential Meal Card Holders! There is something for everyone to enjoy here at your Nellis Club, come give us a try,” it said.
Nellis Air Force Base is home to the service’s Warfare Center where Air Force pilots undergo the most demanding advanced air combat training in the country. “The crews do not come to learn how to fly, but instead how to be the best combat aviators in the world,” the base website said.
Some lawmakers are taking aim at the Tennessee Department of Health and the state's top health official for encouraging minors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Several Republican lawmakers questioned state Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey during a joint Government Operations Committee meeting Wednesday, lodging complaints and threatening to dissolve or "reconstitute" the department's responsibilities in response to its efforts to vaccinate Tennesseans against the deadly coronavirus.
Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, accused the department of "peer pressuring" teenagers and young adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine with or without their parents' permission.
"We know how impressionable our young people are. For a department of ours to make it seem like you need a vaccine ... to fit in is peer pressure applied by the state of Tennessee," Cepicky said. "Personally, I think it's reprehensible that you would do that, that you would do that to our youth."
At issue are some of the ways the department is encouraging Tennesseans to get the vaccine, such as using flyers and advertisements featuring children and phrases like “Give COVID-19 vaccines a shot” or “Tennesseans 12+ eligible for vaccines”.
"It looks like the Department of Health is marketing to children and it looks like you’re advocating," state Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, told Piercey. "Market to parents, don’t market to children. Period."
Within days of the vaccine being approved for children ages 12 and up, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the health department’s medical director for the Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization program, sent a letter to the state’s more than 900 vaccine providers clarifying when providers can administer to a minor without their parent or guardian being present.
According to what is called “the mature minor doctrine,” health care providers can treat patients as young a 14 without parental consent.
But Piercey clarified Wednesday that private health care providers and physicians are also allowed to deny treatment without parental permission.
County health departments follow state law, Piercey said, but the state only knows of eight minors who received a COVID-19 without a parent present. Three of those minors are Piercey's own children.
“I think there is a sense we’re hiding in dark alleys and whispering to kids, ‘Hey come get vaccinated,'” Piercey told lawmakers Wednesday. "We are not doing that."
Only eight people under the age of 18 have died due to COVID-19 in Tennessee and about 370 have been hospitalized, Piercey told the committee.
Pediatric hospitalizations consisted of primarily infants and teenagers, Piercey said, and makeup only 0.3% of the state's total hospitalizations.
But the department does encourage all eligible Tennesseans to be vaccinated while acknowledging that getting the shot is a personal choice, she said.
"We at the department strongly believe that the vaccine is a personal choice and we want to make it available for those who choose it," she said.
We've been told for well over a year that widespread forced public masking should be implemented because, even if only moderately to slightly to negligibly effective at curbing the spread of COVID-19, there are ZERO drawbacks.
"What's the harm?" they ask.
"It's only a minor inconvenience," they bleat.
"If it saves ONE LIFE, it's worth it!" they implore.
Meanwhile, we on Team Reality have not only continued to point to real-world data that shows masking to be entirely ineffective, we've also maintained that forced public masking, especially long-term, has negative societal and even health ramifications that the powers-that-be are all-too-happy to ignore in subservience to their newfound face mask god.
It only stands to reason that one of those health ramifications would be the fact that millions of people, particularly children, have been forced to wear and carry around pieces of cloth they've continually breathed through for hours on end. What lurking pathogens might be found on these disgusting contraptions being incessantly handled, stuck in pockets, and mindlessly tossed on books, tables, and desks? Well, one group of Florida parents sent a batch of masks worn by their children to a lab to find out. And yeah, you'll probably need to make sure you aren't eating dinner anytime soon before you digest THESE results.
Gainesville, FL (June 16, 2021) – A group of parents in Gainesville, FL, concerned about potential harms from masks, submitted six face masks to a lab for analysis. The resulting report found that five masks were contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and fungi, including three with dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria. No viruses were detected on the masks, although the test is capable of detecting viruses.
The analysis detected the following 11 alarmingly dangerous pathogens on the masks:
• Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia)
• Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis)
• Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis, sepsis)
• Acanthamoeba polyphaga (keratitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis)
Half of the masks were contaminated with one or more strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with one or more strains of meningitis-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. In addition, less dangerous pathogens were identified, including pathogens that can cause fever, ulcers, acne, yeast infections, strep throat, periodontal disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more.
The face masks studied were new or freshly-laundered before wearing and had been worn for 5 to 8 hours, most during in-person schooling by children aged 6 through 11. One was worn by an adult. A t-shirt worn by one of the children at school and unworn masks were tested as controls. No pathogens were found on the controls. Proteins found on the t-shirt, for example, are not pathogenic to humans and are commonly found in hair, skin, and soil.
A parent who participated in the study, Ms. Amanda Donoho, commented that this small sample points to a need for more research: “We need to know what we are putting on the faces of our children each day. Masks provide a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow.”
These local parents contracted with the lab because they were concerned about the potential of contaminants on masks that their children were forced to wear all day at school, taking them on and off, setting them on various surfaces, wearing them in the bathroom, etc. This prompted them to send the masks to the University of Florida’s Mass Spectrometry Research and Education Center for analysis.
The below chart, put together by the group of parents, shows the potential dangers from each pathogen:
Appetizing, eh? Of course, nothing above, or anything else, will deter the extremists in the masking cult, some of whom now want to see masking in schools forever.
Members of a group called No Left Turn in Education this month asked Peach State residents to stand up to Critical Race Theory (CRT) and sign a petition asking government officials to ban it.
In a press release, No Left Turn in Education Georgia chapter members also said they want K-12 schools statewide to ban the 1619 Project and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion & Action Civics.
“We are asking the citizens of Georgia to sign the petition for the following reasons. You don’t want children being taught that they are in two classes of people, oppressors and the oppressed, because of the color of their skin. You support the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You believe in the principles of Martin Luther King, Jr. You disagree with racism,” according to the press release.
“You don’t want teachers, administration and other school staff being forced to engage in training or therapy that tells them that they are inherently bad because of the color of their skin. You want the truth about American and World History being taught in our classrooms. You believe it is your right, as a parent, to teach morals and values to your children. You believe the classroom is a place for learning and not for becoming an activist.”
No Left Turn in Education officials said in the press release that once they reach their signature goal they will present the petition to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
On their website, No Left Turn members describe their movement as grassroots.
Georgia Board of Education members voted this month to formally oppose teaching CRT in the state’s K-12 classrooms. Board members, according to their resolution, described beliefs such as CRT as “concepts that impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish to persons solely because of their race or sex.”
Kemp, in an emailed press release, said “this dangerous, anti-American ideology has no place in Georgia classrooms.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said last month he’s joining 20 other attorneys general and urging the Biden Administration to reconsider proposals that would impose the teaching of CRT and the 1619 Project in America’s classrooms. U.S. Department of Education officials have woven such goals into a proposed rule that establishes priorities for grants in American history and civics education programs.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to email@example.com.
We will gather in person at the Springhill Suites in Franklin, TN (just outside of Nashville). Working in coordination with Leadership Institute, you will receive some of the best political activist training available, and will return home armed with information to help you get your candidate elected or better support important issues!
Thanks to the great donors to Leadership Institute, the cost of this event is only $25! BUT if you register before June 30, you get a discounted rate of $20! Where are you ever going to find training of this caliber for a price like that? With the best speakers from Leadership Institute and the best speakers from Eagle Forum, you are truly getting the most bang for your buck by attending this conference. This price is for both students AND adults.
But wait…there’s more. This price also includes the cost of the hotel room for students! We will pair you with a roommate (you can choose or we will) so that there will only be two people to a room. Adults who attend the event with their student can be their student’s roommate (and stay in the room for free). In an effort to allow as many students as possible to get the benefit of this free room opportunity, adults who attend the conference on their own (or choose to let their student room with another student to further that effort) will need to pay for their own room costs. Use the link here to make hotel reservations.
It’s not too late to consider who else you might invite to join you and perhaps be the connection point that someone needs to begin the process of engaging in more active citizenship. Most people just need to be asked! But ask quickly! Space is limited for this event.
The Student Eagle Leadership Summit is a great opportunity for you to meet other students from across the country who share your values and interests. This is certain to be an event in which you will form friendships and contacts that you will maintain for a lifetime.
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Matthew Hurtt (a working session in political activisim); Becky Gerritson (critical race theory); Gabriel Nadales (Inside Antifa); Colleen Holcomb (president of Eagle Forum); Bobbie Patray (president of TN Eagle Forum); and more!
BUT WAIT! ARE YOU A LEADER AMONG YOUR PEERS? If so, we have something special to offer you. With parental consent, you can choose to take the prestigious Youth Leadership School offered by Leadership Institute. This will take place at the same time and place (just down the hall from the main conference), but there will be more hours spent in very intense classes. This course is not intended for everyone. This important program is designed for adults and students who are, or plan to become, leaders of youth volunteers or organizations. After this course, you will know everything you will need to organize youth volunteers on a campaign or how to run an effective Student Eagle group.
Any adult registered to attend the conference can take this course. Students who are under 18 years old may only take this course with a letter of recommendation from your pastor, teacher, or youth leader sent on your behalf to Frances Arthur at firstname.lastname@example.org You must have this letter sent to Frances by July 15th. Use this link to learn more: click hereor call Anne at 314-369-6144.
Hear from some of the best speakers that Leadership Institute and Eagle Forum have to offer! Learn why our conservative values are important, how they are being dismantled and destroyed, and what we can do to stop that.
Don’t worry! Plenty of fun activities are planned, too! Friday night, enjoy a pizza and pool party. If swimming doesn’t suit you, feel free to hang out and enjoy some fun games indoors while you get to know other like-minded Student Eagles.
Saturday evening it’s time for you to shine in small groups where you determine what you can do to get more involved in your community and state with politics and issues.
Before we are back in conference on Sunday morning, church services will be available for those who wish to participate. More details regarding this will be announced closer to the event.
While parents are welcome and encouraged to attend, this event is designed for teens and college students. Parents who plan to attend must also register for the event. Parents will need to reserve and pay for their own hotel accommodations separately.
Convenient to and from the Nashville, TN airport. Student’s reservations will be taken care of in advance. Students should let us know immediately if they have a preferred roommate. Otherwise, we will decide for you. Adults who attend without a student in their room will need to arrange for accommodations on your own. We have secured a room block through Leadership Institute at $119 per night.
Springhill Suites in Franklin, TN 5011 Aspen Grove Drive Franklin, TN 37067 Phone: 1-615-778-4688
Adults attending without a student should click here to make reservations for your stay.
Cut-off Date for Conference Rate of $119/a night with up to 4 per room is July 5, 2021
According to Lipscomb University, whiteness shapes spirituality and anti-racism is necessary for salvation. These were topics lectured to students in two mandatory small-group sessions – weekly occurrences called “Breakouts” – offered this past spring semester.
Lipscomb University requires students to select one Breakout at the beginning of the semester. Once a student chooses their Breakout, they must remain in that group for the entire semester.
GO TO LINK TO SEE CHART
The first session, “Anti-Racism and the Cross,” tells students that true discipleship under Christ requires commitment to anti-racism.
“As Christians we are called to actively move from non-racist thinking to anti-racist actions. This Breakout is for beginners who want to engage anti-racist work with thoughtfulness, preparation, and a concrete action plan to live by our commitments,” reads the session description.
That Breakout was led virtually by intercultural development director Candace Williams and library administrator Brittany Mountford on Thursdays just before 11 a.m. The session was at max capacity, with 50 persons in attendance. That Breakout was one of eleven Breakouts to be at full capacity for the semester – the university offered a total of 63 Breakouts.
The other session, “Blinded by the Light: How Whiteness Shapes Our Spirituality,” focuses on how race is the lens through which people understand the Bible.
“We investigate how our individual and collective perspectives of the Bible have been shaped by our racial identities. This Breakout will be one in which you must commit to listening to understand and leaning into discomfort,” reads the session description.
That Breakout was led by adjunct English professor Bethy Butler and Antioch preaching minister Joshua Jackson – like the “Anti-Racism and the Cross” Breakout, it was held virtually on Thursdays just before 11 a.m.. Unlike the other Breakout, attendance wasn’t at full capacity.
This assertion contradicts the Bible’s teachings on identity. The New Testament asserts that superficial distinctions and associations like race don’t have meaning because all are one in Jesus Christ.
“For you are all sons [and daughters] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ,” reads Galatians 3:26-28 (NKJV). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
As The Tennessee Starreported last Friday, the university will host “How to Be Antiracist” author Ibram Kendi as a featured guest speaker for their annual Christian Scholars Conference (CSC). Kendi will speak this Friday at 10:45 a.m. CST via a webinar session.
Originally, Lipscomb University offered free registration to Kendi’s session using a Google registration form. The free registration form was available on the event page under the “Register Here” button.
Following coverage from The Star, the link to the form was removed from the event page. Now, attendance comes at a cost: graduate students must pay either $140 for virtual or $170 for in-person attendance, and all other registrants must pay $195 for virtual or $220 for in-person attendance.
The Star recovered the free virtual attendance registration link, only to discover that the form is closed and no longer accepting responses.
Even though The Star registered to Kendi’s webinar on Wednesday, a link to attend the session was not received. It is unclear whether access will be granted as promised originally.
None of the Lipscomb University officials that The Star reached out to for more information about Kendi’s appearance have responded with comment as of press time Sunday.
Teacher confronts Loudoun County school board's apparent progressive agenda in fiery speech: 'This isn't over'
"Students, it is up to you to be the next generation of victims, or victors," said Virginia teacher
Lilit Vanetsyan, a teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia, confronted school board officials in neighboring Loudoun County on Tuesday to push back against what she described as radical lesson plans that will teach kids to "root for socialism by the time they get to middle school."
"Parents, the longer that you wait and don't have your child's schools accountable, gives these guys more time to dictate what's best for your child's physical, mental, and emotional health," she said, pointing to the board as she spoke from the podium at Tuesday's school board meeting
She joins a growing number of parents and educators who are speaking out against the controversial critical race theory, which opponents argue is a divisive curriculum that teaches adolescents to judge one another by the color of their skin.
"Students, you are on the front lines of these indoctrination camps. Challenge the staff when you are presented with a ludicrous statement, and do not allow anybody to tell you that you cannot accomplish anything because of your skin color, or to hate yourself because of your skin color," Vanetsyan intoned. "Students, it is up to you to be the next generation of victims, or victors."
FOR REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE AND THE VIDEO GO HERE
A state judge in Virginia has ordered the Loudoun County Public Schools to reinstate a teacher who had been suspended and ordered to stay away from school property after he made comments opposing the district's proposed transgender activism during a public board meeting.
Teacher Byron Tanner Cross had spoken out during May as the board was considering new requirements that would accommodate and promote the transgender agenda. He said as a Christian he could not do that.
He was suspended within 24 hours, when the school claimed his comments caused a "disruption."
But now Judge James E. Plowman Jr. has concluded there was little evidence of any "disruption," with only a handful of emails, and he has ordered the school district to restore his status.
"The court finds that the plaintiff's speech and religious content are central to the determination made by the defendants to suspend plaintiff's employment," the judge wrote. "Defendants shall immediately reinstate the plaintiff to his position as it was prior to the issuance of this suspension and remove the ban that was placed upon him from all buildings and grounds of Loudoun County Public Schools."
The judge found that the Cross was speaking as a citizen, and on a matter of public concern, and that there was "no actual disruption to school operations" because of his comments.
Further, the judge noted that any loss of First Amendment freedoms, "for even minimal periods of time," is "irreparable," and that "similarly situated employees" in the district already have been "chilled from speech" because of the administrators' actions.
"Enjoining a retaliatory suspension will not serve to harm the defendants," the judge said. "Further, it will serve to restore, to some degree, the reputation of the plaintiff that may have been harmed by defendants' actions."
The judge noted that the district even told the "community" by email of its actions against the teacher and that action was "an unnecessary and vindictive act."
Michael Farris, chief of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is working on Cross' behalf, said, "Nobody should be punished for expressing concern about a proposed government policy, especially when the government invites comment on that policy. For that reason, we are pleased at the court’s decision to halt Loudoun County Public Schools’ retaliation against Tanner Cross while his lawsuit continues.
"Educators are just like everybody else—they have ideas and opinions that they should be free to express. Advocating for solutions they believe in should not cost them their jobs. School officials singled out his speech, offered in his private capacity at a public meeting, as ‘disruptive’ and then suspended him for speaking his mind. That’s neither legal nor constitutional. Dozens of other teachers have shared their beliefs on various policies without retaliation; Tanner deserves to be treated with the same respect."
The school's actions already have disrupted the community, with members of the local Democratic Party demanding that a local church pastor recant his support for the teacher's biblical stand.
WJLA reported the county's Democrat leadership was targeting Pastor Gary Hamrick of Cornerstone Chapel.
He backed an effort to recall six Loudoun County school board members who were part of the attack on Cross.
He told his congregation, "We've got to take back our schools. What are we to do, just throw our arms up, surrender? And allow our kids to be taken over by liberal Marxist ideology?"
He cited the fight facing Cross, who with his wife attends the church.
"Friends, this is now where we are. Jesus calls us to occupy until he comes. Part of occupying is to be what Jesus tells us to be which is salt and light."
He said the application of those substances sometimes is "very uncomfortable."
But he said, "to be passive is to be complicit."
He said his church was allowing petition signature gatherers to ask people to sign petitions to recall the six board members who are responsible for being "troublesome."
"Some of the them are not doing their duty, to protect" children, he said.
They are "subjecting them to sexually explicit materials … they are already talking about racially divisive material, emotionally abusing our children."
The pastor's description of the case is at about the 30-minute mark here:
The broadcast outlet explained Hamrick said in an interview, "When somebody can’t even exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech, there’s a problem. All of Tanner Cross’s remarks were very loving, very considerate, but they are remarks that expressed his convictions as a believer, and if we as Christians are being silenced today, then somebody has to be speak up."
Lissa Savaglio, the chief of the county's Democrat Party, had accused the pastor of having dangerous opinions.
"Child abuse is a crime. And for him to go up and accuse our school board members of that, I think it is dangerous," she charged.
She said board members were "already receiving death threats," the report said.
Cross has taught at Leesburg Elementary School for several years, but was suspended after he exercised his First Amendment rights to comment on the proposed school policies at a school board meeting.
The policies at issue "would force teachers to violate their conscience as educators and their deeply held beliefs by requiring them to address students with their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex," the ADF legal team argues.
"Public schools have no business compelling teachers to express ideological beliefs that they don't hold, nor do they have the right to suspend someone simply for respectfully providing their opinion at a public meeting," said Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer.
"The school district favors a certain set of beliefs on a hotly contested issue, and it wants to force Tanner to cry uncle and endorse them as well. That's neither legal nor constitutional, and neither was the school's move to place Tanner on leave."
President-elect Joe Biden intends to waste no time with regard to offering a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants inside the country, and Democrats are formulating a plan to put it into action, according to a report.
The plan, which has not been made public, has been described as so “bold” by Politico, that even the most passionate immigration reform advocates are said to be “stunned” after getting an early look at it.
“On Thursday, Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, policy advisers and three Latino Cabinet nominees met with advocates to outline the president-elect’s immigration, coronavirus and economic agendas,” wrote Politico reporters Laura Barrón-López and Sabrina Rodriguez.
Biden apparently intends to act both through executive orders and by pushing the Democratic-controlled House and the Senate to pursue legislative action. Eventual amnesty for up to 11 million people in the country illegally is on the table.
The Los Angeles Times wrote on Twitter the planned reforms “would be the most sweeping and comprehensive immigration package since President Reagan’s in 1986.”
Those who attended the meeting signaled millions of illegal immigrants could be offered an eight-year status as permanent residents. Biden, per the report, will also use executive action on a four-year DACA extension.
Hector Sanchez Barba, head of the Latino voter engagement advocacy group Mi Familia Vota, reportedly saw plans for Biden’s expected action on immigration. Barba would not go into specifics with regard to the plan, but he signaled the action taken will be sweeping.
Barba called the plan “the most aggressive agenda that I have seen on immigration reform from day one — not only the legislative package, but also executive orders.”
Meanwhile, executive director of the female immigrant worker’s group Care in Action Jess Morales Rocketto, who also attended the meeting, added, “We were totally floored by the immigration plan and the level of clarity,” she said.
Biden would like to get a deal done on the immigration reforms in his first 100 days in office. The Politico report signaled he attempted to taper expectations for that during the call.
The expectation is that Congress will utilize some time between now and April time on additional COVID relief legislation that could slow action on immigration. Biden also signaled he believes the Senate will try President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection following his departure from office after he was impeached for a second time in the House this past week.
That could erode the chances for a deal being finalized within the first 100 days
But there is a sense of urgency for immigration advocates who want to see immediate protections for illegal immigrants. Apparently, some fear that without quick action, the Democrats’ immigration reform plans could be dashed as House members begin preparing for their 2022 re-election bids.
“The administration has a very limited window of opportunity before House members begin running for reelection,” Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas said. “Every day that passes is a day that the window shuts just an inch more … We’ve got to get it done in one fell swoop.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, also of Texas, wants Biden to embrace the recommendations of immigrant and labor groups. Castro reportedly intends to author legislation that would cut the eight-year permanent residence status down to five years after which they can apply for US citizenship.
“I hope the Congress and our nation will recognize that these immigrants stepped up when the United States needed the most and put themselves in danger every day by serving as essential workers during this deadly pandemic,” Castro stated.
But lawmakers are reportedly in constant communication with the incoming Biden administration, and with control of both the House and Senate, resistance to the liberal immigration reforms would likely meet little resistance after GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia each lost their respective re-election bids two weeks ago.
The only question about the success of the “bold” immigration reform policy seems to be if Democrats can come to a consensus on what to put into writing with regard to a legislative approach.
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK) told The Tennessee Star that no one there can explain why home-schoolers are excluded from its test-optional admissions. Also excluded are those students whose schools didn’t use alpha or numerical grading systems. UTK’s test-optional policy will last until fall 2025.
“Unfortunately, we do not have anyone who can comment around that topic in particular at this time,” stated the UTK spokesperson.
No further explanation is available on the UTK website. However, all other students may take advantage of the test-optional policy. As The Star reported, those students must submit a personal essay in lieu of their ACT or SAT scores.
The prompt asks students to relay their personal history or examples of leadership.
“We believe Vol is a Verb and leadership is a willingness to act,” reads the prompt. “Provide an example of how you’ve demonstrated leadership to make a positive impact in your community (family, work, experience, school, community, service efforts, etc.). Describe the impact of your efforts and why it was meaningful to you.”
In UTK’s press release announcing their commitment to a test-optional admissions policy for the next four years, the university said that the decision had to do with equity.
“The University of Tennessee, Knoxville will make submitting ACT or SAT scores optional through the fall 2025 admissions cycle in an effort to make the application process for undergraduate admission more equitable for prospective students and their families,” read the press release. “A five-year extension of the test-optional process will help alleviate stress and anxiety for prospective students and provide greater flexibility for applicants who may have difficulty accessing tests.”
UTK also implied that they’re considering following in the footsteps of other universities who’ve made standardized testing optional. According to the press release, this five-year period will serve as a trial run of sorts. UTK officials will review the results to determine whether they will extend the test-optional policy beyond 2025.
“[C]ollege preparedness can be displayed in a variety of ways. UT’s application will give students the ability to showcase both academic and nonacademic talents, including leadership, community engagement, critical thinking, and intellectual curiosity,” stated UTK.
Fabrizio D’Aloisio, the UTK Associate Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Undergraduate Admissions Executive Director, said that the five years would allow UTK to assess how effective admissions tests are for students.
UTK never responded to The Star with requested information about how they will weigh various factors in the admissions process.
Backlash expected as hundreds of US colleges introduce vaccine mandates
Over 400 schools announce mandates for the fall, with some telling students they won’t be able to return without vaccinations
After a year of “Zoom University”, colleges and universities are looking at the Covid-19 vaccine as the key to normalcy in the fall. But as with all things Covid in the US, it’s unlikely they will get there without some fights.
Over 400 institutions have announced vaccine mandates for the fall semester, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, with some schools telling students they will not be able to return to campus without the vaccination.
Policies vary from school to school. Some universities, like the University of Michigan, are requiring only students who are living in campus dorms to be vaccinated, though many others are requiring all students on campus to be vaccinated.
“[Mandates] will allow our students to be able to be in groups with their friends, in group projects, in group discussions, being with a roommate who is vaccinated. The continuous anxiety and fear will dissipate to some extent,” said Gerri Taylor, Covid-19 taskforce co-chair for the American College Health Association, which recommended that institutions make the vaccine mandatory for students.
Despite measures like social distancing and masks, many campuses became hotspots for Covid transmissions last year, with some large public universities seeing close to 10,000 infections over the course of the pandemic. Many schools had students do a combination of in-person and virtual classes, while many student activities were cancelled or were conducted virtually.
From a public health perspective, vaccine mandates, especially on college campuses where students are often in close contact with each other, make sense.
Campuses are often “like a chain that has a bunch of links” as they can affect the spread of Covid-19 in the local cities or towns they are in. A study from last year, which is up for peer review, found that the reopening of college campuses last fall led to a rise in local infection rates in surrounding counties.
“Colleges campuses, with massive events where people gather a lot, create opportunities for these massive transmission events,” said Ana Bento, an infectious disease expert at Indiana University-Bloomington at the School of Public Health and co-author of the study. “The more individuals that are vaccinated, the less likely we are to have these mass super-spreader events.”
From a legal perspective, the mandates are still in a gray area since the vaccine has only been received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer submitted its application for full approval of its vaccine in early May, though the approval process is expected to take months.
Over half the schools with mandates are not requiring faculty and staff to get the vaccine because employees, especially those who are a part of a union, have more protections compared with students. Many employers in the US have similarly been hesitant to implement vaccine mandates for their employees because of potential legal issues, which some employers with mandates are already facing.
Dorit Reiss, a law professor at UC Hastings School of Law, said that she still expects lawsuits from students even if the student mandates are on sturdier legal ground than ones for employers.
But “the bigger question is not will they be sued but will they lose a lawsuit, and I think colleges have a good chance of winning any lawsuits”, she said.
Reiss said lawsuits can probably make a good argument against a mandate on grounds that the vaccine is still under EUA, but these lawsuits are racing against the clock since Pfizer’s vaccine may get full approval by the fall. Courts have also historically upheld mandates for vaccines with full approval, and most of the schools with mandates said they will make medical and religious exemptions, which also lifts some legal load.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s data, the vast majority of schools with mandates are located in blue states, which is unsurprising given the disproportionate vaccine hesitancy among Republicans. The governors of a handful of Republican states, including Texas and Florida, have explicitly outlawed Covid-19 vaccine mandates to accommodate those unwilling to get the vaccine.
Colleges and universities have started to become the target of conservative groups who argue that vaccines are a personal choice and should not be mandated. A protest organized by conservative groups, including Turning Point USA and Young Americans for Liberty, saw over 300 “medical freedom activists” gather at Rutgers University in New Jersey, which was the first school to announce a mandate in March.
“Our children should not have to choose between going to a good state college and going out of state,” said the New Jersey assembly member Serena DiMaso, who spoke at the protest.
With the backlash, some schools have been hesitant to implement mandates and have instead opted to incentivize students to get vaccinated.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is giving students a Starbucks drink when they submit proof of their vaccination. Other schools are telling students campus will be opened to full capacity if a certain percentage of students verify they are vaccinated. Nova Southeastern University in Florida, which had to drop its mask mandate once it was outlawed by the state’s governor, is telling students that they will relax restrictions if 80% of students submit proof of vaccination.