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Showdown in the park. School District attempts to stop Christain lunches.... .

Cryptic

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The school district allows students to eat off campus, and even allows them the ability to choose where they eat- until too many start to voluntarily chowdown at the local park while listening to Christian themed messages. The butt hurt administrators start to make complaints about food "sanitation", unapproved foods, and possible deadly threats to students with food allergies. It is said that the free lunches subject the students to some kind of mind control and the fact that other students voluntarily choose to participate has led others to break down sobbing.

School superintendent, principal confront moms over 'Jesus Lunch' | Fox News
Religious lunch event causing tension between organizers and Middleton school officials | Local News | host.madison.com

The school does claim to lease the park during school hours, but evidently has not been able to produce a copy of such a lease, let alone establish that the "lease" gives them the ability to bar access to the public park as they see fit.

Unless a very exacting lease is produced, I dont think the school can keep the church group out of the park, and short of forbidding all off campus lunches, they cant forbid students from attending. In short, they are failing their course on the Constitution.
 
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Cryptic

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Heck, even if a lease does exist, can a local government lease public parks to third parties with the power to exclude other citizens? Then again, if it is leased to another governmental agency, such arrangements might be OK.
 

Henrin

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Heck, even if a lease does exist, can a local government lease public parks to third parties with the power to exclude other citizens? Then again, if it is leased to another governmental agency, such arrangements might be OK.

Yes, they do it all the time.
 

Cryptic

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Yes, they do it all the time.

I dont have anything to contest that, though if done consistently, it would seem to be unconstitutional (the say, near permanent lease of public park "p" to group "g" inhibits the free speech abiliites of other citizens- and also de facto transfers public property to a private group).

That aside, there evidently is a real lease somehwere. But, the city contends that the terms of the lease do not allow the school to ban free speech activities in the public park. My guess is that the school administrator is out of lunch.

If anything, the most those opposed to the "Jesus Lunch" can do is request equal time for free speech activities of their own. Evidently, the religous group is using a pavilion with permission from the city. Should another group request use of the pavillion, they probably need to be given equal time access to it.
 

Henrin

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I dont have anything to contest that, though if done consistently, it would seem to be unconstitutional (the say, near permanent lease of public park "p" to group "g" inhibits the free speech abiliites of other citizens- and also de facto transfers public property to aprivate group).

That aside, there evidently is a lease. But, the city contends that the terms of the lease do not allow the school to ban free speech activities in the public park. My guess is that the school administrator is out of lunch.

If anything, the most those opposed to the "Jesus Lunch" can do is request equal time for free speech activities of their own. Evidently, the religous group is using a pavilion with permission from the city. Should another group request use of the pavillion, they probably need to be given equal time access to it.

To the best of my knowledge they only give people time slots to certain parts of the park. The space is reserved for you for that time period and no one else is allowed to use it at that time. Of course no one is told this is the case and people do use the area, but they can removed for doing so.
 
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Cryptic

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To the best of my knowledge they only gave people time slots to certain parts of the park. The space is reserved for you for that time period and no one else is allowed to use it at that time. Of course no one is told this is the case and people do use the area, but they can removed for doing so.

That could be the mechanism behind the city's statement that the religous group has access to the park. At the same time, I dont think they can only give the religous group permission to use certain spaces. Rather, if other groups put in requests, they must also be honored.
 

roguenuke

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The school does seem to have a lease with the park saying it can enforce its rules on any event during basically school hours that take place there.

UPDATE: Protests at "Jesus Lunch" are spirited, but peaceful - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Second this isn't just "some moms of children at the school" as being presented but an actual organization that gets a grant to provide the lunches specifically because they are including the religious message.

Also this isn't just some park across the street, as described. But rather pretty much right there next to the school.
 

Cryptic

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The school does seem to have a lease with the park saying it can enforce its rules on any event during basically school hours that take place there.

They do have a lease. But... according to the city, which allowed the religous group to reserve the pavillion in the park and also issued the group a letter affirming that they have a right to use it, the lease held by the school is very limited in nature.

Likewise, the group's lawyer claims there is a mountain of case law on his side regarding leases of certain public properties. Though this is a claim of a partisan attorney, the city's allowing them to reserve the pavillion and issuing them a letter affirming that they can enter and use the park reinforces his claims.

My guess is that the case law and the city's affirmation that the lease is limited stems from past instances where cities had clearly favored one group over others and then facilitated them by allowing them to continuosly lease public parks for their events.
 

roguenuke

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They do have a lease. But... according to the city, which allowed the religous group to reserve the pavillion in the park and also issued the group a letter affirming that they have a right to use it, the lease held by the school is very limited in nature.

Likewise, the group's lawyer claims there is a mountain of case law on his side regarding leases of certain public properties. Though this is a claim of a partisan attorney, the city's allowing them to reserve the pavillion and issuing them a letter affirming that they can enter and use the park reinforces his claims.

My guess is that the case law and the city's affirmation that the lease is limited stems from past instances where cities had clearly favored one group over others and then facilitated them by allowing them to continuosly lease public parks for their events.

I think this is most likely going to end with the parents leaving to find another place. This is not nearly as benign as they are making it out to be. They are basically bribing teens during school hours to preach. And they are using grants as a religious organization to do it.
 

CanadaJohn

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Heck, even if a lease does exist, can a local government lease public parks to third parties with the power to exclude other citizens? Then again, if it is leased to another governmental agency, such arrangements might be OK.

If it's anything like most jurisdictions, schools and other public institutions have first right of access to other public institutional space. That doesn't, however, take away from the inappropriateness of the situation as outlined in the OP.
 

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I think this is most likely going to end with the parents leaving to find another place.
I doubt it. The city has apparently affirmed that the parents can hold free speech events in the public park despite the limited lease held by the school. Rather, it will end when the principal says things have gotten too disruptive and revokes the off campus lunch policy.

This is not nearly as benign as they are making it out to be. They are basically bribing teens during school hours to preach.
Middleton Wisconsin is a prosperous suburb*: Middleton, Wisconsin Economy I dont think many of students would find a free lunch that enticing. Rather, a certain number are attending the lunches simply because they know it bothers the administration.

*Then again, blue state big union demands had placed the Wisconsin economy in danger.... .

If it's anything like most jurisdictions, schools and other public institutions have first right of access to other public institutional space. That doesn't, however, take away from the inappropriateness of the situation as outlined in the OP.
Good wording on the explanation of the lease. That is the way another source also described the lease. The lease does not give the school the ability to resitrict access to the park or limit free speech activities in it. Rather, they just have the right of primacy regarding reservations for the facilities.

As for it being inappropriate, the administration's over reaction, clumsy attempt to ban it, and contrived concerns (food safety standards, deadly allergy attacks- but only at the religous lunch. Students going to restaraunts are left alone.) are also inappropriate.

The best response would have been to just ignore the religous lunches. I strongly suspect that attendance will dwindle once students see that going is not getting a reaction from "the Man". Then there are Wisconsin winters.... . In the meantime, the administration needs to learn to tolerate what they dont like.
 
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roguenuke

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I doubt it. The city has apparently affirmed that the parents can hold free speech events in the public park despite the limited lease held by the school. Rather, it will end when
when the principal says things have gotten too disruptive and revokes the off campus lunch policy.


Middleton Wisconsin is a prosperous suburb*: Middleton, Wisconsin Economy I dont think many of students would find a free lunch that enticing. Rather, a certain number are attending the lunches simply because they know it bothers the administration.

*Then again, blue state big union demands had placed the Wisconsin economy in danger.... .

This is causing a rift and problems in the school. The group has even said they are looking into stopping the lunches.

I think eating something other than the school lunch, somewhere very close would be very enticing, especially if it's hot food paid for by someone else.
 

Cryptic

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This is causing a rift and problems in the school. The group has even said they are looking into stopping the lunches.

I think eating something other than the school lunch, somewhere very close would be very enticing, especially if it's hot food paid for by someone else.
The students also have access to hot food at restaraunts- and I doubt the brown bag lunch at the luncheon stays that hot after the number of attendees increased.

I guess the administration could survey those eating the lunch to see if they feel coerced, threatned, or bribed into attending. My guess is that the answers will be "no". They might even offer free lunches of their own. Or, they could take the best approach, learn tolerance, and then ignore the group. Attendance will decline.
 

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I'm no fan of evangelicals targeting kids but these are high school kids, just a year or two from being adults. They don't need to be coddled. And if the lease doesn't give the school the right to exclude people then the evangelicals are within their rights. And if the parents don't want their kids there then that is between the parents and the kids.
 

Moon

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This is causing a rift and problems in the school. The group has even said they are looking into stopping the lunches.

I think eating something other than the school lunch, somewhere very close would be very enticing, especially if it's hot food paid for by someone else.
The rift is being caused by the totalitarians at the school. No one is being forced to participate in the lunches.
 

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All the school really has to do is forbid students from leaving the school campus during lunch and that is that. Sorry to those that claim unfair, schools do have that right and it is actually the norm not the exception.
 

Moon

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All the school really has to do is forbid students from leaving the school campus during lunch and that is that. Sorry to those that claim unfair, schools do have that right and it is actually the norm not the exception.
That would be extremely childish and petty on the part of the school.
 

Casper

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That would be extremely childish and petty on the part of the school.

Most do not do it for that reason, problem with high school students and leaving at lunch is far too many either return late or not at all. If they do just because of the attraction then you would be correct but if that attraction is resulting in late returns they are well within their rights to forbid leaving the campus.
 

roguenuke

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The rift is being caused by the totalitarians at the school. No one is being forced to participate in the lunches.

The rift is caused by both. High school involves a lot of peer pressure and someone refusing to join the crowd is easily ostracized for feeling uncomfortable about attending services during school hours.
 

Moon

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The rift is caused by both. High school involves a lot of peer pressure and someone refusing to join the crowd is easily ostracized for feeling uncomfortable about attending services during school hours.

Big deal. No one is forced to attend, and they aren't required to listen to the religious message even if they do. This is just about the bullies at the school pitching a fit over something they don't like and are powerless to stop. This isn't on school property and it's during a time the students are allowed to be off campus.
 

roguenuke

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Big deal. No one is forced to attend, and they aren't required to listen to the religious message even if they do. This is just about the bullies at the school pitching a fit over something they don't like and are powerless to stop. This isn't on school property and it's during a time the students are allowed to be off campus.

Both sides have bullies. And this shouldn't be going on and these parents know it.

Their claim was that their kids felt uncomfortable discussing their religion at school and they wanted to share their beliefs with other students. It grew so they continued it. Why? There was no reason to continue it if it was obvious that their kids weren't some minority that should feel uncomfortable talking about religion with their friends, in an appropriate time and place, not during school, at least not with adults leading it.
 
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Moon

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Both sides have bullies. And this shouldn't be going on and these parents know it.

Their claim was that their kids felt uncomfortable discussing their religion at school and they wanted to share their beliefs with other students. It grew so they continued it. Why? There was no reason to continue it if it was obvious that their kids weren't some minority that should feel uncomfortable talking about religion with their friends, in an appropriate time and place, not during school, at least not with adults leading it.
Why shouldn't it be going on?
 

roguenuke

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Why shouldn't it be going on?

Because it is religious in nature, during school hours, and has led to divisiveness in the school because those who aren't Christian are being made to feel ostracized for not being Christian.
 

ksu_aviator

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One more case of Christian persecution in the US. Maybe some day we will actually recognize it and do something to prevent it.
 

roguenuke

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One more case of Christian persecution in the US. Maybe some day we will actually recognize it and do something to prevent it.

If this were planned parenthood, Christians would be the first ones knocking down the doors of the school to protest it.
 
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