The headlines are splashed all over the internet about a school principal in California forcing students to kneel before being dismissed.
Has the kneeling policy at this school been misconstrued or is the principal on a power-trip? In all actuality, the students are not kneeling, they are "taking a knee" like football players do.
FOX News reports: "Students Forced to Kneel Before Their Principal." The Blaze says: "School Will No Longer Require Students to Kneel Down Before Principal ‘Like a King’ For Dismissal."
The headline from The Daily Caller reads: "Public school kids no longer forced to kneel before principal."
The headlines make it seem like this school principal, Dana Carter, is a power-tripping megalomaniac. Could it be that the intentions of Mr. Carter are true and honest?
One outraged parent made flyers and distributed them to other parents who also became upset with the school policy.
It's very possible Carter's intentions are pure, but the way they were implemented might be construed as flawed by those who have become outraged. The "taking a knee" policy was instituted from the start of the school year at Calimesa Elementary in San Bernardino County.
It's also been said by some parents that students have the option to "take a knee" or sit down. Any teacher or adminstrator can release them to go to class once they are calm.
In order to understand the policy both sides must be examined before a conclusion can be reached. However, many websites appear to be jumping right on the band-wagon before all the facts are known.
This Examiner will admit he was among the many jumping to conclusions. That is until George Ramirez contacted the Christianity Examiner and informed him of the real reason why "taking a knee" was being done.
Ramirez used to live in Yucaipa and said that half the department he works with lives there, and many have kids at Calimesa Elementary.
Ramirez said: "It's (the taking a knee) after recess and lunch. It's elementary school kids and there were a lot of mishaps once they heard the bell from running. This gave them an opportunity to calm down before they went to class. It worked well and falling and tripping incidents dropped accordingly."
The Chicks on the Right's Facebook page has exploded with this story and at last count there were close to 400 comments about it. Most seem to be jumping to conclusions before all the facts are known.
Some comments that try to explain why the kneeling policy was implemented were posted and they appear below.
One person said:
"This (taking a knee) is not an unusual practice. It's not about worshiping the principal; it is indeed about safety. This is an unnecessarily inflammatory flyer. I've been an educator for 25+ years and having kids "take a knee" when the whistle blows is a great way to get everyone's attention."
Another person said:
(This taking a knee policy) "gets the minds and bodies quieted for a moment, so they can all hear and follow the directions. Coaches do it all the time on the field with their players. I don't think anyone would say the coach was a megalomaniac. It's just a simple way to get the kids to focus and stay still."
One commenter that claims to know Dana Carter, and his family said:
"Before everyone on here freaks out, like I see you are already doing, let me say that I know Dana Carter and his family. He is a great guy. The kids were not asked to kneel before him. They had to kneel in the playground in order to be dismissed. My kids used to have to do a similar thing.
They had to freeze when the bell rang. Maybe kneeling wasn't the best idea for the district to implement, but I assure you this was not HIS idea to indoctrinate anyone. Lets not slander anyone before we know the facts. In sounds to me like maybe this was one angry parent that didn't get their way and decides to get even. Shame on them!"
Another commenter said:
"I am a conservative. And I am a public school principal. That is spelled with "pal" as in principal is your pal by the way. Jumping to conclusions before knowing the real facts is what damages the conservative idea. Perhaps this is a system, as mentioned above, of students demonstrating that they are ready and did hear the bell.
It is pretty much universal in large gatherings of students to have them raise their hands, sit, or show some sign that they are ready. Crowd control and safety are part of the responsibility of educators. Have you ever seen an unsupervised crowd of children charging down a hall? I have, kids get hurt. Order and walking in quiet lines in halls and public areas is important in the school setting for student safety."
In order to present a well-rounded story all sides must be examined like the Christianity Examiner has tried to do. It can be seen how the kneeling can be construed as "worshiping" the principal. It's quite possible that the principal had honest intentions when this policy was implemented.
Giving a person the benefit of the doubt is the responsible thing to do, especially by those of us who call ourselves Christians.
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