2001-11-22 / Top Stories

School Bd. Meeting Becomes Yell-Fest Over Prayer Proposal

School Bd. Meeting Becomes Yell-Fest Over Prayer Proposal

School Bd. Meeting Becomes Yell-Fest Over Prayer Proposal

Donna Pensabene, 2nd fromright, president of Community School District 18 board discusses "moment of silence" resolution with board member Jack Zimmer. Board  member Larry Cohen is shown at right.                                                                                                          Sherize Kharyzma UrquhartDonna Pensabene, 2nd fromright, president of Community School District 18 board discusses "moment of silence" resolution with board member Jack Zimmer. Board member Larry Cohen is shown at right. Sherize Kharyzma Urquhart

By Sherize Kharyzma Urquhart

The November 13th meeting of Community School Board 18 that started on a happy note at the Max B. Meyers School with the appointment of two assistant principals and a musicale by students from I.S. 211, turned relatively sour when board members took part in a yell fest regarding a proposed "moment of silence" resolution.

The resolution proposed that all students in district schools be given "a moment to reflect, meditate or pray or decline to do any of the above based on his or her God-given right."

Board President Donna Pensabene motioned that the resolution be tabled because it needed "time to be further investigated before it could be officially approved, but board member Julia James argued that Mrs. Pensabene did not fully present the resolution before tabling it.

"After a motion has been passed to table a resolution," Pensabene argued in response to protests from James, and board members Abu Q. Abu, Lloyd Roberts and Mark Fertig., "no further discussion can take place for that resolution. We have five (votes) in favor of tabling it and four votes against; the fives have it."

The bickering continued and many members of the audience walked out. One stepped forward, however, and said, "There is no full agreement and you need to stop acting like children and grow up. Why put the resolution on the agenda and not talk about it?"

Repeating the phrase "You are out of order" each time James, Abu or Fertig interrupted her, Pensabene said the resolution must be further investigated "because it is illegal to have prayers of any nature in public schools as stated by the Supreme Court." But James argued the Supreme Court’s emblem states: "In God We Trust."

Finally Roberts said to the Board president, "behave as if you are educated." Pensabene’s response was, "You are out of order. This meeting is adjourned."

Earlier in the meeting Ms. Joan Palmer was appointed assistant principal of P.S. 244 and Mrs. Winnie Bracco was appointed assistant principal of P.S. 279.

Entertainment was provided by the I.S. 211 Chorus and singer Gary Chesner.

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