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Letter: Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame

Richard Tomlins writes a letter to the editor in regards to the School Committee's 5-2 vote to not appeal the prayer banner verdict last week. He states it was "the most uneducated vote in my career."

Wednesday evening at the Cranston East Auditorium we witnessed  the most uneducated vote in my career. The” infamous” NAMLEY: Steven Bloom (Ward 1), Stephanie Culhane (Ward 2), Paula Mc Farland (Ward 3), Janice Ruggieri (Ward 4) Andrea Iannazzi (Ward6) are the culprits.
 
They all claim to be “educators”: what they told all current and future students is that they are oblivious to our history as the United States of America, right up to today!  If they had studied the issue for what it was they might have turned an ear to what was the right vote. AS I tried to point out as others,  their vote was about ignoring the true invasion of our liberties by the ACLU, Atheists everywhere, and left leaning Liberals to the determent of what was established, long ago, by our forefathers!
 
But no, this five purposely turned a “blind eye “to the whole issue” of the National onslaught, against our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
 
As I tried to say Wednesday night, before I was shut off by the, what has become an impervious President, Ms. Iannazzi who has become so willing to show off her youth, lack of education on national issues, and to puffery.  Guess I must lump the other four.  They laughed when I stated that they were products of the 60s. Apparently they were never educated to what took place and what was the beginning of “anything goes, if it feels good do it” Most of all they said “ we are educated, we know it all. But they forgot to tell  the Nation that was just for now.  In other words the h--- with history , we don’t need it,. We have all the answers.
 
Well they just proved that they still don’t know history, that we don’t care what we were borne to be, my vote was the only thing that was important, even though it was “hollow.
 
Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame.
 
All this was is a great story about a 7th grader, as an art school class endeavor, to make an ‘Historical” document that would honor the first graduating class for Cranston West in perpetuity.
 
So what did four of the Committee pontificate about (mainly to hear them self [sic] talk) was how we are the great stewards of fiscal responsibility.  These are the same folks that voted for the Caroulo suit that spent $500,000 in legal fees (sounds to me that that figure for the continuation of the appeal would be cheap by comparison) But then I don’t know who OUR favorite lawyer was or if he was a donator).  For further the court ordered that the committee owed $6.1 million dollars to the city half of Cranston and, listen to this: they had to reduce the program to basic education. This meant that certain sports, music and honors program had to go into the dust bin.
 
Now how about that for guardians of dollars and the best education possible for all student that we are responsible for!?
 
Now juxtapose that brilliant exercise of responsibility with deciding that when the time came for a real opportunity for a lasting educational experience comes along we will punt!
 
Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame, Shame.
 
Then they have the nerve to berate the audience by  asking where were you when they required private money to cover their backsides to help with programs cut! Is that nerve or not? Personally I ignored their misguided action and donated $750. To sports and $500. To music. And I just donated $500. To the Basic music program.  Unlike most of them I walk the walk as well as talk the talk I know that if they excised a modicum of true leadership the public would have responded with donations to a legal fund. I talked to at least a dozen prominent citizens who pledge to donate , after the committee showed determination for educational reasons and did the responsible thing.
 
And can you imagine that if we set up a website asking for donations on a National and international bases we would have collected?
 
Woe, Woe, that would take leadership.
 
I must add that the fifth vote on the council. gave an analogy that I’m still trying to figure out and an intellectual excuse, which would require all of us, to be able to read the publicity prone atheist ‘s head.  My. My.
 
I will have a team shortly that will make the effort to make amends for this unworthy and uneducated decision ( I should also add cowardly)to first and foremost educate all students now and in the future here and as far as we can reach.
 
Anyone that would like to join to walk the walk are more than welcomed.
 
My God Bless this great nation and give us the determination and love of country to carry on the effort to right the ship that is slowly and surely trying to destroy our way of life!  For one family we are determined that a secular an socialist way of life  will not be our legacy for our children and grand children.  Come join us in this most worthy fight.

— Richard Tomlins
Cranston

SALVATORE LOPORCHIO February 21, 2012 at 05:20 PM
BRAVO FOR MR. TOMLIN. I BELIEVE THE MAIN PROBLEM IS THE THE PEOPLE GAINING THE FOOT HOLE ARE THOSE THAT ARE ANTI BELIEVERS. THE SHOULD TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT THE ACLU. DO THEY REALLY BELIEVE THAT THE ACLU COULD GIVE "TWO HOOTS AND A HOLLER ABOUT JENNIFER ALQUIST OR ANY OF THE OTHER "PAWNS " THAT THEY CHOSE TO ADVANCE THEIR PURPOSE. THE ACLU IS A THIRD POLITICAL PARTY WISHING TO IMPOSE THEIR DOCTRINE ON THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY. THOSE THAT OPPOSE MR. TOMLINS THOUGHTS SHOULD REALLY LOOK AT THE CONSTITUTION AND ESPECIALLY THE FIRST AMENDMENT . THE LOSERS IN THE DECISION WERE THE MAJORITY AND THE MINORITIES. THE BANNER WAS PLACED IN THE SCHOOL NOT MY THE GOVERNMENT BUT BY THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE, AND BY THE CONSTITUTION " THE CONGRESS SHALL ACT ON THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE", AND WE CAN SAY AN AMEN TO THAT.
Robin Lionheart February 21, 2012 at 06:37 PM
In 1942, our nation rounded up Japanese-Americans and put them in concentration camps. We have a Constitution to protect our civil liberties from the “tyranny of the majority”. Those who subordinate civil liberties to majority will are democratic tyrants.
Ross Stapleton-Gray February 21, 2012 at 06:55 PM
While I enjoy the sentiment, I have to question a few of your facts: Lincoln only issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, and with the cover of a Union victory at Antietam (Sharpsburg); the Confederacy had by then been in existence for nearly two years.
Ross Stapleton-Gray February 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM
While I'm pleased at the outcome (in the decision not to appeal the banner verdict), I'm dismayed that it will likely be perceived more as "We couldn't afford to get justice" by many, when it ought to be seen as, "Constitutional protections were observed." As far as school funding goes, many districts are relying heavily on locally-organized non-profits to make up for cuts in the arts, sports, etc. While it's great that there's still a willingness to give to schools, we ought to think of school as our public investment, lest it end up well-funded only in communities that can afford it, and abandoned elsewhere.
Janice Ruggieri February 21, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Mr. Tomlins is mistaken in many points of his tirade.....Mrs. Culhane, Mr. Bloom, Mrs. McFarland & I were not on the School Committee when they filed the Caruolo suit against the City. We have been cleaning up the mess from that lawsuit since our tenure on the School Committee. And in doing so we have had the unpleasant task of cutting programs from all students in Cranston. We did laugh about being children of the 60's because of the 7 of us 5 of us were babies, or small children in the 60's and one was not even born then so we found it funny that he said that. Mr. Tomlins has stood before us many times and understood the rules that night about not speaking over 3 minutes...his time was called and he continued to speak ignoring and disrespecting the Chairwoman. Regardless of her age, she is in a position that deserves to be respected by those who stand before her and Mr. Tomlins deliberately chose to ignore her many requests. It was rude and grandstanding to say the least. Many of us on the Committee have chosen to "walk the walk"...we volunteer our time and if we can; our money to the programs that need it so for him to suggest that we are not doing our part just because we do not publicize all we do is far from the truth. This case has been going on for almost two years and in that time we have not had support from our City or our Mayor. We are not a revenue generating body and have no authority to fundraise for any cause.
Janice Ruggieri February 21, 2012 at 07:11 PM
In addition; not once has anyone stepped forward to start an effort to raise funding toward this issue with the exception of the group who are looking to Preserve the Banner. This issue was argued in court and the 5 who voted to accept the verdict did it so that our students would not lose any more than they have. If Mr. Tomlins does not understand the reasoning or logic behind this decision than I would be glad to discuss it with him in person.
Kate Katzberg February 21, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Is it my imagination or are the two preceding angry pro-religion in the schools letters full of historical, spelling & grammatical errors. Misters Tomlin and Loporchio would do well to actually spend some time considering facts. Here's one I like: "it is important to note the US Supreme Court ruling in favor of Separation of Church and State in public schools in the case of Abington School District v. Schempp. The banner in question went up after this decision came down. In other words, it was already clearly determined to be illegal by our highest court. By keeping the banner up, we are in fact upholding the tradition of breaking the law." Here's one for Mr. Loporchio; I don't know who Jennifer Alquist is but I do know that Jessica Ahlquist is a hero to many.
Kate Katzberg February 21, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Ms. Ruggieri, I wanted to thank all of you for your hard work not only on this particular issue but for the work you do as members of the school committee. I was particularly taken with how all the women on the panel mentioned the "Basics" program and made sure to get people to donate during the meeting. Savvy and wise.
Stephanie Culhane February 21, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Of the 7 of us on the committee, 5 were not on the committee when the Caruolo action was filed. Mr. Tomlins should know this, and as a person who attends many meetings and also ran for the city's highest office, he should be embarrassed not to know this. Mr. Tomlins was out of line at the meeting and once again used the "elderly veteran" card in his defense. Everyone was given 2 minutes to speak, and once again, as he frequently does at all public meetings, Mr. Tomlins took it upon himself to go over his time. Yes, he is a veteran, and I thank him for his service. And he is elderly. But that does not entitle him to be rude and disrespectful. I certainhly would not want any of our young people who were there that evening to take a page from Mr. Tomlins playbook. He set a very poor example. He could have very lawfully been arrested that night for inciting a riot. For someone that panders to parents at committee meetings, Mr. Tomlins should know better
Stephanie Culhane February 21, 2012 at 09:18 PM
While many of us would have liked to see the banner stay, we also recognize that a vote for a lawsuit would have put money for education in the wrong place. He should be ashamed for suggesting that the committee place funds for children's education into the hands of lawyers. As far as his baseless acusations, none of our lawyers has ever donated a dime to my campaign. I do not know what he was insinuating in his rant. Pehaps he should do some research before he spreads his vitriol. As the mom of three and a founding member of Music is Instrumental, I certainly walk the walk. I donate my time and my money to our schools and I also donate, yes I said donate my time and my family's time on the UNPAID school committee. I have done my part, Mr. Tomlins. It's easy to throw money at an issue, it's another thing to roll up your sleeves and work to fix it. Mr. Tomlins would be wise to recognize the difference.
nancy February 21, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Richard Tomlin is a sick old man all he does is complain about everything about the city of Cranston!!!!
Paul Auger February 21, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Those of you who read my comments know I am all about empirical evidence and documentation, So lets get some evidence out and documentation here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVE-FzrWsng&context=C39486c6ADOEgsToPDskI7V9YzKf3VnQ4DPs_7WRK8 Tomlin claims he was "shut down" and not allowed to speak. The truth is that he was given the same 3 min every one else was. If you play the video to the end you will see it goes for over 4 min, Tomlin speaks the whole time, so he got an extra min. Also please note that despite what a popular talk show host says Richard Tomlin was not manhandled. The police approached the mic after Tomlin refuse to give it up so the next person could speak. Tomlin left untouched and under his own power. This highlights the fact that Richard Tomlin thinks the rules don’t apply to him. Refusing to let the next speaker come forward revealed that he felts he the same rules that applied to others dont apply to him. It is apparent that even today he is oblivious to the arrogance demonstrated that night.
Paul Auger February 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM
"Woe, Woe, that would take leadership." WOE, WOE! Really? lol Is he wearing sack cloth and ashes as he wanders the streets of Cranston eating locus? I hope they are Kentucky Fried Locus! You cant make this up!
Prof. Frederick Sweet February 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Mr. Stapleton-Gray, your history is correct. I stand correct! Southern soldiers first attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12, 1861. The south reacted against the election in 1860 of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln who had weakly come out against slavery during the Lincoln-Douglas debates. After the Republican victory, before the new administration took office March 4, 1861, seven southern states ILLEGALLY seceeded to form the Confederacy. Republicans in their 1860 platform had strongly denounced as treason threats of secession. Lincoln's Proclamation (September 1862) came only after the Confederate army was defeated in Maryland at the Battle of Antietam, Historians say, Lincoiln issued his Proclamation to make ending slavery the main MILITARY issue of the war. This move prevented European military intervention on the side of the south because France and England officially condemned slavery. Of course, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (adopted December 6, 1865) outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude iin the U.S., except as punishment for a crime. Yet I stand by my comparison. Most southern slaveholders justified slavery by their interpretations of the Holy Bible, and insisted slavery was part of patriotic American tradition. No doubt like some in Cranston who struggle against the 1st Amendment's separation of religion from government agencies -- such as PUBLIC schools -- southerners hated the 13th.
Ed February 22, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Shame, Shame... We all know that if there was money for the appeal, the banner would have stayed there for a long, long time... That folks is the fact of the matter... You can debate until the cows come home, there are way too many other cases which won to set the table, like it or not!!!
Prof. Frederick Sweet February 22, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Mr. Stapleton-Gray, I agree with your sentiments and worry about America's community educational priorities in and beyond Cranston. Coming from a poor working-class family, I started out in very ordinary, crowded New York City public schools in the middle of World War II ... very tough times socially and economically. Yet nationwide, financing a decent education in public schools was then the highest priority. By "decent education" I mean providing ALL schoolchildren with the basic skills necessary to advance towards their life's goal. My public elementary, junior high, and high schools had, in addition to English lit., science, and math, also music, art, sports, and shops (then called "industrial arts"). As I kid, all i ever wanted to do was SOMEHOW, poor family and all, become a medical research scientist to work on trying to find new solutions to serious health problems. I had no idea what to do about it, but my public school teachers said so long as I do my homework, I'll get there. I did, and now medical research is what i do. Today, I worry that in too many public schools the grownups would rather spend $173,000 fighting to keep an old prayer banner up in an auditorium than fight to make sure that even some kid from a poor working class family can get a decent enough education to become a medical research scientist.
Ed February 22, 2012 at 12:14 AM
I do have to say that when I saw the photo of Jessica's father in the Pro-Jo at the meeting the other night I laughed my backside off. I would be embarrassed to go out in public looking like that and he goes to represent his daughter looking like that.... WOW... you don't have to put a caption under that picture, that picture is worth a thousand words... Just one question... Which bar did he roll out of??? And, if you lit a match near him would he explode??? You know he could have been putting the crowd in jepordy... What a "Role Model"... I guess I mean Athiest... Haaaaaa, I love it!!!
Paul Auger February 22, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Somebody get Ed his meds!
Ross Stapleton-Gray February 22, 2012 at 12:25 AM
But, again, I don't want to at all have this seen as "We had a choice between money for education, and money for justice," as it wasn't that: precedent and Constitutional law suggest that if the vote *had* been for appeal it would have been money unwisely spent, in pursuit of an inappropriately discriminatory (against atheists and nonchristians alike) cause. In the bigger picture, we're starving public education. What really puzzles me is that teachers and public institutions seem to be the target of the so-called "tea party" voters; when I was growing up, the Norman Rockwell image of the schoolhouse, the municipal worker, and civic responsibility would have been the solid center of what passed for conservatism. (See also Rockwell's illustrations of FDR's "Four Freedoms," which would include Freedom of Religion, i.e., for private practice, and from any sort of public influence, as in this particular case.)
Stephanie Culhane February 22, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Correction to my post, 4 of 7 were not there for Caruolo. And to correct my colleague Ms Ruggieri, 2 of 7 of us were not born yet!!! :)
Donna F Doyker February 22, 2012 at 02:06 PM
All I have to say is what good will come out of removing this "built in plaque"? You can talk about civil rights, the Constitution and blah, blah blah, but what good will come of this whole fiasco? NOTHING!!!!!! Only more division and dissention. Way to go!
Kate Katzberg February 22, 2012 at 02:22 PM
What bad will come of it? Perhaps the good is that the "banner" will now reside somewhere where people who subscribe to its sentiment , may appreciate it. Like I have said before; there is nothing wrong with the banner...it just doesn't belong in a publicly funded institution that serves everyone; not just a sector of a particular religious faith.
Robin Lionheart February 22, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Hopefully one good thing may be future generations of Cranston West students having less disrespect for civil rights, the Constitution, and America than you.
Ed February 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Paul... God loves you buddy.... ;-)
Prof. Frederick Sweet February 23, 2012 at 01:18 AM
To Mr. "ed," I hope you are not more than 12 years old for which age group your rude comments could be age-appropriate ... taking into account a very angry and insecure child. So far as Ms. Katzberg's wondering what harm the prayer banner can do in Cranston High School West auditorium the answer is: no problem. The only thing wrong with it is that the banner is ILLEGAL. The school sets a bad example of citizenship by supporting any activity that breaks the law. The ULTIMATE law of the land is the U.S. Constitution. A qualified federal judge ruled displaying the prayer banner in ANY public school is illegal. All that Jessica did was to report the illegality. One other good came out of it. By Jessica braving the outrageous hostility of some in Cranston, she was rewarded by a college scholarship. That's good.
Kate Katzberg February 23, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Professor Sweet, I suggest you reread my comments. I support the separation of church and state and testified to that last Thursday. I believe you are confusing me with the writer of the letter preceding my letter.
Maple Leaf February 23, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Shout much? Fact fail. The school sponsored the banner, hired a professional painter to create it, and hung it--thus becoming responsible for a biased religious display in a supposedly neutral setting. If you actually looked into the *facts* you'd find that the ACLU frequently defends people's freedom of religious expression. But schools must be neutral. Neither the people of Cranston nor the author of the banner count in this discussion--the Constitution does, and so do the many legal precedents that have defined how it i interpreted. Get a grip, read the banner, and start acting like a good sport, because you lost and rightly so.
Paul Auger February 23, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Just wanted to make sure people know there was a response posted to this letter http://cranston.patch.com/articles/letter-pro-appeal-side-operates-on-emotion-not-logic
Prof. Frederick Sweet February 23, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Sorry Ms. Katzberg, my comment should have been directed to Donna F Doyker. What concerns me is that Cranston grownups obsessed with imposing their religious sentiments on public school children obscure the real issue that is: religious sentiment does not trump the 1st Amendment establishment and separation clauses. Instead of recognizing the banner was illegal for more than 40 years, on its face, the community had to be dragged through an expensive litigation in court that they could never have won. Instead of facing the reality that public schools are no places for asserting religious prayers ... that's what parochial school, churches, synagogues, and mosques are for ... too many Cranston grownups sent their young people the message that defying the law is O.K. so long as you can shout loud enough: "God wills it!" [That's the kind of stuff that Osama bin Laden was made of.] Better Cranston grownups should teach their youngsters respect for our secular laws!
Prof. Frederick Sweet February 23, 2012 at 01:21 PM
It finally dawned on me. The Cranston prayer banner issue has NOTHING to do with atheists. Trying to discover the true Christian position on a publicly displayed prayer banner on a public school wall, I looked up Jesus' official policy on prayer ... wondering what position He would have taken at the Thursday evening meeting to "appeal the federal court's decision" for the Cranston High School West's prayer banner. Here's what Jesus had to say: “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6). Does anyone recognize this? BOTH Jesus on the mount and also the U.S. Federal Court citing the U.S. Constitution coincidentally share the SAME position. So then who exactly are all those Cranston people screaming to keep a prayer banner stuck up on a wall in a public school? They can't be Christians. If they were then they'd ... move the banner to their rooms, close their door, and pray to their Father in secret!

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