Committee member Joylene Wagner, PTA Council president and Glendale
High parent, told the Glendale school board Tuesday that what the
committee came up with was "not groundbreaking, it's clarifying."
"The spirit of the regulations is to look at the balance of honoring
cultural traditions," she said.
All members gave their time on a volunteer basis. Empey gave members
resource material such as the U.S. Department of Education guidelines,
"Religious Expression in the Schools," and The Freedom Forum First
Amendment Center's "Finding Common Ground" to review before the first
Empey said a written policy would enable the district to align its
guidelines with recent court decisions regarding religion on campuses.
Committee member and Hoover High Advanced Placement government teacher
Nick Doom added that a winter concert at Crescenta Valley High School had
offended several parents.
"The music and dialogue was overly Christian," Doom said.
The concern at the 1998 concert caused the high school to omit the
scripture reading -- a 30-year tradition at the school -- at the 1999
concert, Crescenta Valley Co-principal Gary Talbert said.
Making policy was difficult, Talbert said.
"The issues were tricky. For instance, can a school teacher
participate or lead a religious club after school on campus, which is
free time for them?"
After a couple of meetings, the group came up with excellent
recommendations that were reviewed by the district's lawyers, committee
member Joel Shapiro, district coordinator of professional development
After long discussions with good consensus, the group was able to
establish guidelines in a way that could be clearly understood, Shapiro