Attorney Rees Lloyd
March 3, 2012
"Tell me what the children are being taught in their schools in this generation, and I will tell you what kind of government the next generation will have," –Abraham Lincoln
Once upon a time, in the old Soviet Union under the Communist Party of Marx-Lenin-and Stalin, all of whom began as idealistic young politically progressive reformers (Russia's original "Occupiers," so to speak ) but devolved into totalitarian revolutionaries, a "Political Commissar" was assigned to each school—and each military unit – to ensure that the politically correct "party line" was being followed by word and deed.
China's Chairman Mao, who also began as a young progressive promising reform but ended as an even greater mass murderer (estimated 100 million) as a dedicated Marxist communist revolutionary, also followed the policy of assigning Political Commissars in schools and military units to ensure the politically correct party line was followed.
Today, in Portland, OR, the Principality of Progressive Political Correctness, the Portland School Board, liberal progressives all, have adopted an "Equal Access To Military Counter-Recruiters in High Schools" policy (Resolution 4503) in which anti-military liberal, progressive, and even self-declared "revolutionary" organizations with whose political view points the School Board members agree, are to play, de facto, the role of the old communist party "Political Commissars" to serve as watchdogs minding military recruiters to ensure the politically-correct liberal progressive party line is followed.
It is a policy which exposes the totalitarian streak that runs through liberal progressive political, educational, and governance policies and philosophy, from the Portland Schools to the White House and the Federal Department of Education in the Obama regime. This is true notwithstanding that the progressives dominating the contemporary education establishment who determine what the children of this generation are taught in the schools, have established policies like Portland's "military counter-recruiter" policy with fulsome expressions of their good intentions, and assertions that they are only acting to achieve equality and to benefit "the children."
Fortunately, patriotic wartime veterans of The American Legion Portland Post 1 are not surrendering to the progressive School Board's anti-military "counter-recruiter" policy. By unanimous vote at its general membership meeting of Feb. 15, 2012, Post 1 adopted a resolution opposing and calling for rescission of the Portland School Board's progressive anti-military counter-recruiter policy on the ground that that policy is not only unwise but patently unconstitutional "view point" discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.
I served the Resolution of American Legion Portland Post 1 on the members of the School Board at their meeting on Monday, Feb. 27. I urged them to heed Legion Post 1's objections, and rescind or substantially revise their manifestly unconstitutional policy so as not to expend funds needed for education on all but certain constitutional litigation. I noted that even the Oregonian newspaper, the 800-pound liberal gorilla in print media as Portland's sole daily newspaper, had editorialized that the School Board's policy was unwise.
By Resolution 4503, the uniformly liberal "progressive" members of the Portland School Board have created rights of "equal access" and speech only to anti-military, liberal, progressive and even self-declared revolutionary organizations identified as "counter-recruiters" at Career Day or other in-school forums. Such organizations are to have access and speech rights in the schools equal to the access of military recruiters, who federal law rights of access equal to other employers who recruit in the schools.
I testified against adoption of Resolution 4503 when it was adopted unanimously by the liberal progressives of the School Board on October 24th, 2011. In addressing the Board when serving the American Legion Portland Post 1 Resolution on Feb. 27, 2012, I read into the record the primary resolved clause, as follows:
"RESOLVED, that American Legion Post No. 1, Portland, Oregon, opposes and calls for the rescission of the policy of the Board of Education of the Portland Unified School District known as "Providing Equal Access To Military Counter-Recruiters in High Schools, established by Board Revised Resolution No. 4503, on the basis that said policy on its face constitutes unconstitutional view point discrimination by allowing equal access for expressive activity only to anti-military and/or pro-revolutionary organizations based on their viewpoint as "Military Counter Recruiters," while that policy upon its face denies equal access to recruitment forums by pro-military, patriotic organizations, including the wartime veterans of American Legion Post 1 based on their view point."
In addition to granting access and speech rights solely to anti-military "counter-recruiters," the Board's Resolution actually makes the taxpayer-supported schools the publisher and distributer of the propaganda of anti-military liberal, progressive, and even self-declared "revolutionary" organizations which the School Board deems as acceptable "counter-recruiters" based on their point of view.
More particularly, Portland School Board Resolution 4503 provides, in part: "Each high school should be provided a packet of information from counter-recruiters about military service, including information for parents and students about the practices of military recruiters, and the full range of service opportunities for students upon graduation." (Emphasis added)
Thus, taxpayers, who are constantly being urged by the Board of Education to go deeper and deeper in bond issue debt and to support legislation for more and more funds, all "for the children," is to use tax-payer funds to publish and distribute to "parents and students" the propaganda of the Board's chosen anti-military, liberal, progressive, and self-declared revolutionary "counter-recruiters."
The Board uses the language of "equal" access to the school forums but in fact access is anything but "equal." On the face of the Board's Resolution 4503, access is granted solely to those organizations whose point of view is anti-military, liberal, progressive, and/or openly revolutionary, to the exclusion of all others.
More particularly, the board defines "counter-recruiters" as follows: "'Counter-recruiters' include organizations that have a local presence and an established practice of providing information to students about military service and career alternatives[.]" However, the Board Resolution then adds a clarifying "such as" by naming as examples of acceptable "counter-recruiters" several organizations, each of which is an anti-military, liberal, progressive organization, without a single pro-military organization being included. It is clear that the right of access and speech is not for the purpose of recruiting students for employment purposes. Rather, it is clear that the purpose is to serve as minders of military recruiters as once did the old time "political commissars" and to visit upon students by spoken and written words the politically-correct anti-military progressive party line.
The American Legion Portland Post 1 is an organization which has "a local presence and an established practice of providing information to students about military service and career alternatives," as is set forth in Board Resolution 4503. But it is a pro-military, patriotic organization of wartime veterans, and is therefore excluded from the rights of access and speech granted to "counter-recruiters" of an anti-military, liberal, politically progressive point of view.
Therefore, American Legion Portland Post 1 has called for rescission of the Board's policy as unconstitutional view point discrimination. Alternatively, failing complete rescission, American Legion Portland Post 1 calls for its inclusion in the grant of access and speech rights "equal" to that of the anti-military, liberal, progressive, and/or revolutionary organizations favored by the Board with special rights based on their point of view.
In short, the Portland School Board should rescind its unconstitutional policy based upon view point discrimination entirely, or include in the school forums the American Legion, VFW, and other patriotic organizations which have "a local presence and an established practice of providing information to students about military service and career alternatives."
In response to my inquiry, the School Board's General Counsel informed me that the policies for implementing its Resolution 4503 "equal access" for military "counter-recruiters," including making application for inclusion have not been established. If the School Board does not rescind its unequal "equal access" policy in its entirety, or if Post 1 is excluded while liberal, progressive, or self-declared revolutionary organizations are included based on their point of view, I believe constitutional litigation is inevitable.
Therefore, I urge all other veterans or patriotic organizations which have "a local presence and an established practice of providing information to students about military service and career alternatives" to join with American Legion Post 1 in objecting to the unconstitutional anti-military "counter-recruiter" policy of the Portland School Board, demanding its rescission, and/or in demanding inclusion when the Board finally establishes its implementation policies if the policy is not rescinded entirely.
Further, I urge everyone who becomes aware that their local school board has adopted or is proposing a similar "military counter-recruiter" policy, to contact me, and to fight back.
It is time to take a stand for enforcement of the Constitution, and against the enforcement of the politically-correct, progressive Portland School Board's unwise, unequal, and unconstitutional "Equal Access To Military Counter-Recruiters In High Schools" policy. It may cloak itself in all the familiar platitudes of political correctness and good intentions and protestations that it is all "for the children," but it is at its essence totalitarian in nature, and upon its face it is manifestly in violation of the First Amendment's prohibition against "view point" discrimination.
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Anyone wishing to express their views, or to obtain more information, on the Portland School Board's anti-Military Counter-Recruiter policy (Resolution 4503), may call the Board (503-916-3741), or find contact information on each of the Board Members and staff, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses, on the Portland Schools website. Click here for more contact numbers.
Superintendent Carole Smith, who is charged with implementing the counter-recruiter policy, including providing written material of "counter-recruiter" organizations to parents and students, may be reached by phone (503-916-3200) or e-mail as listed on the Portland Schools home page or her personal website.
© 2011 Rees Lloyd - All Rights Reserved
REES LLOYD is a longtime civil rights attorney and veterans activist whose work has been honored by, among others, the California Senate and Assembly, and numerous civil rights, workers rights, and veterans rights organizations. He has testified as a constitutional expert at hearings before the U.S. House and Senate representing The American Legion.
He has been profiled, and his work featured, by such varied print media as the Los Angeles Times and American Legion Magazine, and such broadcast media as ABC's Nightline and 20/20, Fox News In The Morning, and, among others, by Hannity. His writings have appeared in a variety of national, regional, and local newspaper, magazine, and other publications. He is a frequent radio commentator, and a sought after speaker.*
[*For identification only. The views expressed here are solely Rees Lloyd's and not necessarily any person, entity or organization he may otherwise represent. ]