Why You Should Care About What's Happening In Douglas County School District

Why You Should Care About What's Happening In Douglas County School District

If you care about your first amendment rights, read this.

As young people in America, our first amendment rights to freedom of speech, press, petition and assembly grant us the ability to stand up against any unfairness in our world, express ourselves without fear of persecution and essentially guarantee us the most free sort of living we can achieve.

Recently I was made aware of an instance in my own hometown where such rights of students were threatened in quite a concerning way by elected school board officials.

It would be nearly impossible for me to summarize everything that has happened in the Douglas County School District over the last several years to lead up to these recent events, but to summarize, teachers and parents are unhappy due to reasons including, but not limited to, school board reform, unjust methods of teacher evaluation, the onslaught of excessive standardized testing and generally unpleasant and unsatisfactory work environments. Teachers and principals have been dropping out of the district like flies and in turn, students are unhappy. They don't want to have to see their favorite teachers go over and over again.

Enter Grace Davis, a high school sophomore who attends school in the district. She saw what was happening and was upset by it, and in turn she organized a protest at her high school which many students attended. Grace was completely within her rights in doing so. The protest was peaceful and positively motivated. Grace should have been praised for standing up for what she thought was wrong. The district should have listened to her. If the school board officials genuinely cared about Grace's concerns, she would have received a positive response from them where her concerns were addressed. Grace certainly got a response, but it wasn't the one she deserved.

Instead, Grace was invited to a private meeting by board members Judith Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn. After declining a request to meet off campus, Davis agreed to meet with the two women on campus at her school. She assumed her parents had been contacted. They had not been.

This is the first red flag.The only possible reason for the board members to not ask for the parent's consent in meeting with their daughter is simple: they did not want her parents to know. To add on to that, they did not make the other board members aware of what they planned to do. Weird, right? Don't worry, it gets weirder.

The conversation, or rather, the interrogation, between Reynolds, Silverthorn and Davis is available in its entirety on YouTube.

I I encourage you to listen to it to see for yourself, but its content is shocking and disturbing.

During the course of the 90-minute conversation that took place when Davis was supposed to be in class, she was accused of not actually knowing what her first amendment rights were. She was blamed for an instance of a policeman being hit by a car that was later proven to have occurred during a completely separate protest. Her concerns were thrown aside, and the board members instead attacked her personally. They used scare tactics to attempt to silence Davis. It was implied that Davis did not have a legal right to stage a protest, which she absolutely does.

There is a lot of content covered in the audio, which, by the way, was recorded by Davis herself, not the board members, of course. I find the bit about first amendment rights to be the most unsettling.

And here's where we get to the part about why you should care.

When the women accused Grace of not knowing her rights, I really just heard them trying to suppress her rights. I heard bullying tactics used to push her down. And if this can happen to her, why can't it happen to you? Elected adults in positions of power shouldn't speak to students in this way. They are twisting the truth and trying to make young people uninformed and confused. They are making an attempt to prey on the naivete of teenagers. It didn't work on Grace, but not everyone is so strong.

Reynolds and Silverthorn have since been asked to step down from their positions. Neither woman has done so.

If you care about your first amendment rights, this story affects you. If you have any opinions ever about anything, this affects you. If you are young, this affects you. If you believe in standing up for what is right, this story absolutely affects you.

I urge everyone to learn what is going on in Douglas County so you can make sure it doesn't happen in your own school district. Fifteen-year-olds being harassed and bullied by adults during school hours is only one of the issues this district is facing, and trust me, you don't want to see this happen in your hometown.


Cover Image Credit: The Denver Post

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.


Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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