Another document dump on Moore County Schools prayer kerfluffle

v2_religiousfreedombutton_350x219We previously posted HERE and HERE about what looked like an attempt to harass school employees about their religious beliefs and practices. Now, we’re learning more, courtesy of superintendent Bob Grimesey:

[…] Attached find the complete set of documents that was provided to each secondary principal, the purpose of which was to provide guidance for their interviews with specified staff members.  Each principal was provided with one set.  As I stated previously, and as clearly indicated in the instructions, the forms were to be used by the principal to interview specified employees.  While it is not explicit, the intent was that each interview be conducted in confidence for the purpose of assessing our compliance with school board policy and with the guidelines that legal counsel provided last year.  Despite the fact that the instructions were clear that principals were to use the questions to interview the selected employees, about half of the principals made copies of the questionnaires and distributed them.  To be fair, there was no explicit caution to avoid such an approach.  And that is where the breakdown occurred.  That also is where I must assume full responsibility.  As such, I have judged this to be a process error for which no one is to blame but me.  We will learn from this error and do everything in our power to avoid any such oversight in the future.

No questionnaires were ever distributed to students, nor was any such distribution ever considered.  Furthermore, the process was NOT intende2013-07IndependenceDayCartoonColord to identify and consider disciplinary action against any employee.  And since any such disciplinary action would ultimately need to be authorized by me, it is safe to conclude that my intentions are substantive to any judgment of this process.  There were three leading questions.  A “no” answer to any one of those questions would preclude the need for any of the other questions to be asked.  Moreover, a “yes” response to any of the three leading questions would not require that all follow-up questions be asked.  Principals were simply provided with a variety of options for follow-up questions and advised to be as specific as possible so that we could gain an accurate understanding of our employees’ understanding and our school district’s legal risk.  Most importantly, we needed to assess the degree to which our students were free of any unlawful, unethical or inappropriate religious coercion or persuasion, be it subtle or overt.  This entire endeavor was intended to ensure our students’ religious liberty, and I stand by that intent.
I am aware of no other documents associated with this matter.  You now have everything that our staff has.  I hope the documents and my explanation are helpful.  As always, I welcome your further questions.  – Bob […]

Here is what Grimesey’s office IDs as the original document sent to school administrators.  Here is what is stated as the reason for pursuing this little venture:

[…] Last year, the school system received a formal complaint from an attorney for an advocacy group about a prayer at a Moore County bigbrotherSchools athletic event. Dr. Grimesey asked the school system attorneys for legal guidance, and they provided a memorandum that was distributed to schools. Since that time, there have been ongoing reports of employees participating in prayers with students at athletic events and possibly other school events as well. I need to gather information about whether and when this is occurring to report back to Dr. Porter so that he, Dr. Grimesey, and the school system’s attorneys can ensure that the school system is not violating laws regarding the separation of church and state. It is important that I get accurate information so that the attorneys can give appropriate advice to Dr. Porter and Dr. Grimesey.[…]

Interesting.  While Grimesey and the author of the linked document stress that the scope of inquiry was strictly limited to principals, assistant principals, athletic directors, and coaches, several of the questions in the document appear to encourage informing on other school system employees.

11 thoughts on “Another document dump on Moore County Schools prayer kerfluffle

  1. It is amazing how the courts have come to define freedom of religon as freedom FROM religon!
    The phrase “wall between church and state”, does not come from the Constitution, but originates in an 1802 letter written by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists Association.
    I suggest that everyone read for themselves this letter and decide whether or not Jefferson believed the Constitution to ban open religious expression by individuals as a condition of holding a government jobs.

  2. A defamation lawsuit against Dr. Edward Pruden goes to trial Feb. 29. Hope someone is going to publish the results. PortCity Daily out of Wilmington is doing a good job of covering this.

  3. What an unbelievable mess! Yes, referring to the situation described above, but mainly this cockamamie “separation of church and state” malarky. And as usual, it’s been legislated FROM THE BENCH by fanatical, leftist, anti-religion judges.

    Here’s the applicable phrasing from the 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    Now, as far as I can tell, CONGRESS has NEVER established any national religion, like the Church of England. And also as far as I can tell, CONGRESS has NEVER prohibited the free exercise of anyone’s religion. So it’s ONLY been judges who have decided that public prayers organized by school officials, coaches, county commissioners, city councils, etc etc constitute an infringement of this “establishment clause” which is somehow harming atheists and/or other anti-religion nutcases with an imaginary axe to grind.

    I’m so tired of this I could SPIT. Soon, we’ll have a Convention of States where this issue can be addressed. With a little luck, we can convince the legislatures of 38 states to agree to strengthen the protections of our Bill of Rights so foolishness like this NEVER happens again!!!

    Oh, one more thing: I’m NOT religious.

  4. Quite a can of worms opened here…

    So in a nutshell, there was a complaint about an alleged prayer that happened then conveniently more ‘reports’ of prayers going on which culminated in the creation of a survey to employees.

    A survey, which according to Grimesey, was supposed to be used for anything really, just identifying specific individuals so they can be dealt with… Nothing to see there…*WHISTLES*

  5. Having spoken to teachers recently, I am convinced there is an atmosphere of fear, distrust and concern for retribution within the teacher arena, one that shuts down free speech and therefore problem-solving. In the military, those in charge (in this case the County Commissioners) would conduct a command climate investigation to try to validate and then assess the extent of reported problems. Are they institutional, e.g. baked into the functional architecture or the laws; or is it a leadership problem, and if so, residing where in the chain of command.

  6. My question is who was the attorney; whom did he claim to represent and is the letter public information? WBBJr

    1. Walter —

      If you go back and read this post and the previous ones on this issue, you will see that it was THE school system attorney who wrote it up. The documents went to all kinds of school employees. (I have heard from teachers who got these documents handed to them.) Grimesey acknowledges that in his email and says it was a screwup.

  7. “Furthermore, the process was NOT intended to identify and consider disciplinary action against any employee”


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