I fear a storm might be brewing in the community where my wife and I live and — to be candid it — makes me queasy to think of Princeton, Texas, as a place that could produce a serious culture battle.
The Princeton Independent School District is considering whether to ban all outside groups from using school venues for things such as, oh, rallies, fundraisers, luncheons.
It’s not that the school system wants to ban all of ’em. It appears the actual aim is to keep a certain group of constituents from using the venues: the LGBT community.
The PISD school board considered the item the other day, went into executive session, then came out and decided to send the matter to its legal counsel for advice on how to proceed.
I am just one voice in the community. I have no children or grandchildren enrolled in the school system. I just pay my taxes that help fund the school district. Thus, my conscience tells me to urge the school district to move away from banning all groups.
It is a ham-handed tactic that some on the school board apparently want to become part of an overall Princeton ISD strategy to keep certain people from using public property. We see this drama played out all over the country.
Some folks within the gay community want to use space in Princeton HIgh School to hold a gay pride event later this year. Some in the community object to it. They have friends on the school board who are willing to echo their objections. Two of their PISD school board friends were just elected to the panel and I sense they are moving this item toward some conclusion.
What is troubling to me is the idea that banning all groups means, well, all groups. That means church groups, Scout groups, veterans groups, homeowners association groups. They all would be denied use of public property — their property — for any purpose. Is that fair? No. It isn’t!
The school district, though, well might get advice from legal counsel that suggests it’s OK to ban them all. They can cite liability concerns or other safety-related matters. Except that any group also could be asked to sign documents that waive the school district from responsibility in case of an accident on school grounds.
Let’s not lose sight of what appears to be the cause of this discussion: foes of those who promote gay pride and want to express their pride on public property.
An outright ban on all outside use of that property is a slap in the face of those who pay for the right to use what is rightfully theirs.