Tuesday, November 18, 2008


But Jean Clements, president of the local teachers union, noted that shopping malls, not churches, were filled on Good Friday last spring. "That was a skip day for the entire county," she said.

I'll bet Jean ( C.T.A. Prez) did no research at all - what churches did she even drive by? Not mine. Talk about a snide remark from someone who purportedly encourages diversity. I wonder if she counted how many kids were at the Fair or Strawberry Festival?

Jean? Do I count?

Is it any wonder that the district must call in a crisis team to help our kids deal with tragic deaths? I guess I'm getting to be one of those religious zealots who remembers her religion getting her through the bad times in school. Guidance counselors and psychologists were good for interest surveys and college screenings but everyone at my school knew to go to a higher authority for the really big things.

"Others felt Christian values were getting short shrift.

"If we're going to talk about all the religions, then where are the Christians and the Catholics?" asked Luis Perez, president of the union representing Hillsborough's bus drivers and other blue-collar workers. "Have they been invited into these meetings?"

Bingo! Luis Perez should teach a thing or two to Jean.

I'm ready to start reclaiming my culture's position - while recognizing my neighbor's.
What the hell is so hard about that? Even Carol Kurdell should be able to draw a conclusion from the number of Good Friday '08 absences.

Figure out a 180 calendar, that's all the state will fund anyway
. Parents should prepare for Good Friday.


Ricky Ricotta said...

Pinellas County doesn't take off for Good Friday, and have no problems. So according to your logic, they must not have Christians over there.

The vast majority of absences were NOT people going to church, as you know full well. No research needed. It WAS just a big skip day. After a couple of years, when all the publicity dies down, there will be very few absences in Hillsborough County on Good Friday.

thomas vaughan said...

I have to agree with Ricky on that one. Ms Creamcheese, I am a big fan of yours but I think Jean's observation was about church was right on the money but her characterization of the day as a "skip day" seems to deliberately ignore the fact that teachers had to pay for that day off by using benefits hours. Theo only ones who "skipped" were the kids.

I do wish that the CTA wasnt so quick to jump on the district bandwagon.

Anonymous said...

I have a problem with this. I haven't worked Good Friday in years--whether I have to use a personal day or not. We respect other religions and let them take their holy days without penalty or losing exam exemptions. We are the majority religion in this nation--when in Rome... Some data regarding this should be available somewhere--- Teachers should have the right to take a holy day (or a beach or shopping day as they wish).That's why we have those days. Just DO NOT try to PROHIBIT us from doing it.From an operational point of view--administration should consider if a majority of personnel will use this day and consider staffing and safety issues.

Mark Miwards said...

I agree with you Suzie. It has nothing to do with skipping. It has everything to do with respect for your established religious beliefs.

Ricky is going to stretch the logic into absurdity. No one said anything about Pinellas. It doesn't matter. What matters is Hillsborough. What matters is what matters to you (us).

Who cares if the absences die off. It wouldn't count if we got the day. Jean's observations are Jean's observations. They have no more validity than mine. Probably less since she only looked at the malls.

Church attendance is not required to observe the religious significance of Good Friday. It is the 3 hours (12-3pm): free of distraction that is. Let us out at 10AM? Ever think about that? No. That fact is telling.

Of course, I'll join you and take the day.

Let's see what happens when we must justify taking the day. I doubt CTA will stand up when the district requires us to document the reason for our absence and then only pay us when it is an APPROVED reason.

Anonymous said...

C-hristian T-hrow A-awys!

Did you do that on purpose? Priceless!

Anonymous said...

I think no KNOW it is time for Jean to C(see) The Azz that she is! How do we get rid of her? Term limits are forever ?? She has been in bed with the Board long enough! Oh wait, now she has a Room. Vote her OUT!

fuji said...

To address the issues raised by Anon. 4:55-
We do allow students to take off holy days with no penalty. Students of any faith can do so with no adverse effects on exam exemption or grades. What has never been the case is the issue with teachers. Teachers observing religious holy days other than Christian days have had to use personal days for many years. Considering the focus on retirement funds that this blog site has had, imagine what a hit to the sick leave payout that becomes. No one has made it so that teachers and other employees cannot use pesonal or vacation days to take off Good Friday. The district has moved to a calendar that reflects the secular entity of public school. Did anyone ask Brighthouse, Verizon, or TECO to shut down on that day? How many of their employees took the day off to be with their children?

Thomas Vaughan said...

We never have to explain why we take a personal day. If I feel the need to observe Good Friday, I can take the day off as a personal day.

"the majority religion"??? OMG

This country has NO majority religion. This country has no official religion and I thank God for that.

The framers of our constitution went to great pains to NOT establish ANY religion.

Teachers HAVE the right to take the day off already.

Anonymous said...

What is so surprising about the phrase "majority religion"? Here's what the PEW Research center has published based on hard data.

The Observant Majority

"A solid majority of voters (61%) say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month -- and 45% go at least once a week. This is little changed from recent years: in 1997, 59% of the electorate said they frequently attended services (at least once a month), and virtually the same percentage (60%) reported frequent attendance in 1996. And nearly six-in-ten (59%) of those who attend services on a regular or even infrequent basis (at least a few times a year) say they are involved in church activities.

With the high level of religious participation, it is probably not surprising that most Americans see churches, synagogues and other religious organizations as contributing meaningfully to society. Fully 72% say these organizations help solve important social problems (28% say a great deal, while 44% say some). Just one-in-four believe religious groups do little or nothing to alleviate the nation's problems."

While nobody here appears to be trying to co-opt anyone's religious preference there is a decided base of support for Christianity and I don't see that as bad. I have the right to practice my beliefs and not be penalized for doing so. I see no one trying to convert anyone or create a state religion.

The Board is ignoring community standards for their convenience - or because of their cowardice.

We are NOT, we never were, a secular society. Considering the Puritans came here for religious freedom and we have successfully supported that tenant better than any country since 1776.

Unless you have specific evidence about the policies of TECO, Brighthouse, and Verizon then leave it out. Is their policy/calendar open to public debate? No. They need to provide their utility service. They can and do operate during hurricanes with a skeleton staff (this I know). Much is computer assisted. Comparing their policies to the school district is merely distracting the focus of the discussion. Apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

I am Jewish, and every year I have to use personal days for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, etc. If my colleagues want to take off for Christian, Muslim, or Wiccan holidays, then I see no reason why they cannot also use their allotment of personal days for that purpose.

Anonymous said...

Thomas-- Let me clarify--what I meant was that Christians are a majority of the religious numbers. Having said that, it follows that a majority of teachers would continue to take that day as a religious day. Therefore, it would be wise to consider this when addressing staffing at schools, buses and safety/supervision of attending students. I would NEVER support a government relion!!! I resent the heck out of it when government pokes its nose into my beliefs and practices, as it does so much too frequently as it is. I agree with a seculat calendar. Other religions have the right to observe their holy days without my interference, also. That is as it should be in this country.

Ricky Ricotta said...

Bravo, Jewish anonymous! You really hit the nail on the head.

Mr. Vaughan, you made some good points as well.

Public schools are secular institutions, just like the government that funds them. No one should be penalized for their religious beliefs, but neither should any religion be privileged. Tyranny of the majority is still tyranny.

Thomas Vaughan said...

anonymous @5:12PM

Excellent point about administrators planning for the absences. I guess its easier for them to complain about teachers.

I was threatened when I took the first early release day off. She told me she was told to advise us that the early release days could be taken away if we didn't use them for planning. I explained to my principal that "they" couldn't take away our early release days w/o negotiating with the CTA. I explained that they weren't a gift from administration that could be "taken away".

God how I hate being treated like a child by those people.

If they try to "take away" our early release days we can "take away" our willingness to cover for classes in exchange for comp time.


Anonymous said...

So who would work on Christmas?

Anon 8:07 gets my vote as most rational.

Tom's principal? My vote for least rational.

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that it was NOT the teachers who took Good Friday off. Mostly, it was the students. I was there with my handful of classes.

Ricky Ricotta said...

Anonymous 5:23~ Yes, exactly. And when Jean Clements mentioned "skip day," that's exactly what she was referring to- students taking advantage of the situation to have a free day off. It was not a "snide remark" as Suzie tries to claim.

Ricky Ricotta said...

By the way, Sue Carlton of the St. Petersburg Times wrote a nice column on this issue, published yesterday. See

Let's not be childish on school holidays

Goader said...

Me thinks you engage in hyperbole. I don't believe anything can happen as you say: Every. Single. Time. I think the laws of chance preclude such a scenario. However, your point is well taken.

Your characterization reminds me of our favorite Conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh; you either love or hate him. As adamant as Rush is on his show it is actually professional wrestling on radio. It is a cartoon. Most blogs, for all the good they can do, are cartoons sometimes—including everyone's favorite blog, EsKay. (Sorry Suzie, maybe it's the second favorite.) It is for this reason I sometimes scratch my head when people can take what they say so seriously.

It is disingenuous to imply that Suzie's tapping on the keyboard could possibly have such a monumental effect as you indicate. She cannot be held responsible for the decisions people make whom she has never met.

For all their inadequacies, postings on blogs can also be true and meaningful. However, it is the reader's responsibility to practice critical thinking while reading them.

You yourself might be guilty of that which you accuse Suzie of doing: Attaching too much importance to the persuasive abilities of one person.

BTW, as I have stated previously, it is here, in the comments section, where the fine-tuning occurs. The initial post is only part of the blog entry, the comments make up the remaining portion.

Additionally, make no mistake how fortunate Suzie is to have someone who comments as you do. You help create a more entertaining experience.

So there…