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I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Mine was a young suburb filled with new trees planted in the easement strip. Dotted and dashed along the sidewalk, driveways stitching neighbors into the commonness of the neighborhood. On each side of us and in just about each home on the street were kids my age and most in my class at school. Young families, filled with promise, living the American Dream.  All were equal, right? It was supposed, but not practiced.

            (more…)

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God of Our Fathers

Our School is one of those lucky schools that get to have Devotional Exercises before school. It’s about 15 minutes long and brings the student body together to get their minds engaged and going as a school. Teachers have a few minutes to address the students, and often the students themselves are called on to speak to their peers. Parents are always invited to attend.

The senior class is assigned to speak right now and I thought I would share with you our daughter’s talk. I found it as a pertinent reminder especially when I get feeling just a bit over confident about my achievements in life. Just click on the link below to read her talk. Enjoy.

God of Our Fathers

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We Are Distinguished

distinguished-school

The State of Arizona selected Masada Charter School as the Title I Distinguished School for the state. On February 19th, a group from Masada went to San Antonio to participate in the recognition ceremony. A member of that group also participated on a panel presenting best practice strategies around “Professional Growth & Support”. This recognition establishes Masada as a model for designing and implementing school wide Title I strategies.   Way to go Masada!!

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Prayer in School

Since “The Pledge of Allegiance” and “The Lord’s Prayer” are not allowed in most public schools anymore because the word ‘God’ is mentioned…
A 15 year old kid in Arizona wrote the following:

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If Scripture now the class recites, It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all
In silence alone we must meditate,
God’s name is prohibited by the state.

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks..
They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the ‘unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.
It’s ‘inappropriate’ to teach right from wrong,
We’re taught that such ‘judgments’ do not belong.

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It’s scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!
Amen

~Posted to the internet by an unknown author.

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images1imagesThe Masada Charter School Junior High celebrated high achieving students today with an activity that included sidewalk art, hot chocolate, and caramel apples.

 

In order to get on the honor roll at Masada, students cannot have any grades below an A-. Thirty-five of the 98 students achieved this goal for the first trimester.

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 Ms. Mary Hammon, The mass media instructor, was kind enough to allow e to interview her Mass Media class at Colorado City Academy, November 17, 2008.  I was interested in the students’ perspectives on the 25th annual Jefferson B. Fordham Debate held at the University Of Utah College Of Law on October 22nd.  The participants in the debate were Marci Hamilton, Law Professor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York City and author of God vs. Gavel and Justice Denied, along with Kirk Torgensen, chief deputy of the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

                The question being debated was “should the state prosecute polygamous parents and remove children from their homes?” Brooke Adams reported from Ms. Hamilton “failure to prosecute polygamists has created dangerous cults like the FLDS”, (“a failure she attributes to authorities be ‘timid in the face of specious claims of religious liberty’”

Question: I asked the students how they felt about the debate generally:

Jackie: The debate was not formally structured.  They both went off emotions and assumptions.

Joanna:  It seemed like they went of emotions. 

Marie:  Torgensen was getting so angry.  He said at the beginning that he wasn’t speaking for the Attorney General’s office; He could only speak from his own point of view. 

Question:  After reading the quote from Marci Hamilton that it is “undeniably true that not every case of polygamy includes sexual or physical abuse, the tendency is enough to make the assumption that a polygamous home is not a fit home for a child”, I asked the students to respond:

Joanna: She was totally going from her own assumptions.

Jackie: She has painted with a broad brush just like Torgensen said.  He said you couldn’t prosecute polygamists based on the assumption that every home is abusive.

Marie agreed, saying Torgensen was in a bad position because he couldn’t defend an illegal action.  He said it would be unconstitutional to prosecute on the basis of assumptions.

Question: I asked if they believed Torgensen was actually worried about defending our constitutional rights, or defending the actions of the office of the Attorney General.

They all agreed on the latter, saying it was against his oath of law to defend those who disobey the law.  He was being accused of being too lenient.

Question:  What interest does a law professor from the state of New York have in pressuring the state of Utah to prosecute polygamy?

Marie:  Other states were challenging the state of Texas to take action against polygamy.  It is Torgensen’s responsibility to prosecute illegal activity.  Utah and Arizona had to defend why they have not prosecuted polygamy.

 

(Someone interjected:  They got embarrassed in Texas.)

Jackie: The polygamy issue does affect what goes on in other states.  We discussed the fact that once a marriage is recognized by one state, other states that are in a compact agreement with the state are bound to recognize that marriage as well, which is the reason many states have an issue with the state of California legalizing gay marriages. 

Question:  What is your responsibility as a U.S. citizen regarding your practice of religion?

Marie: Be vocal and participate.  Respond to their actions ( when their actions aren’t constitutional).

Jackie: Fight for what we want.

Question:  How do we do that?

Jackie: Change the laws.  We go to the legislature and ask them to put it on a bill.

Question: How do we get someone to be sympathetic enough to our needs to have it put into a bill?

Joanna: We need to show them that we are educated, that children can choose whether they want this lifestyle, show them that we’re not abused. 

Question: Are we protected under the Constitution of the United States:

All replied: “Yes, We are”

Jackie: It’s illegal in the state of Utah and Arizona.

Question: How do you feel about Marci Hamilton’s position?

Marie:  She made broad claims; she used her own credibility

Ms. Hammon: She’s trying to sell her book.  Many people were in agreement with her. Many of the law students agreed with her.  Kirk Torgensen was put in an unfair position.

 

Question: I read a quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith regarding holding elected officials accountable, and asked how can we hold our elected officials accountable?

Jackie: Use the process of the election

Ms. Hammon: We trust these people to be objective and fair, and not bow to pressure beyond the scope of their job.  We trust them to act ethically.    

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Some of our local high school students travelled to Salt Lake City to watch the debate live at the University of Utah debated the Prosecution of Polygamy. Here are a few of their thoughts.    fordham-debate-jaclyn-1  fordham-response-marie-11

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