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Audience Participation to Be Included at Enfield School Board Meeting Wednesday

The Board of Education will continue discussion of a settlement proposal for a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In a departure from the norm, residents will be allowed to speak at a special meeting of the Enfield Board of Education Wednesday night.

Audience participation is usually part of the agenda only at regularly-scheduled meetings, but several board members expressed their desire to involve the public during an last Tuesday.

The board will be continuing discussion started at the July 10 meeting, held mostly in executive session, in which a motion was made to accept a settlement proposal for a two-year-old lawsuit involving the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

At the end of the tumultuous special meeting, the motion to accept the proposal, for an undisclosed amount, was tabled until July 18.

"One of the things people on the board wanted was to let the public state their concerns," board chairman Tim Neville said. "A lot of this was in private attorney-client session. We want to be as open as possible."

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The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the school board in 2010 on behalf of five people who were vehemently opposed to the board's practice of holding graduations at the First Cathedral Church in Bloomfield.

A judge issued a temporary injunction prohibiting use of the religious site for a public school graduation. The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State have since sought to have the injunction made permanent, which Enfield school officials have opposed.

Since the injunction, graduations have been held on the grounds of both and high schools, as they had been for decades prior to a massive athletic field reconstruction which began in 2007. Last month, both schools held commencement exercises on the artificial turf playing surfaces for the first time.

The special meeting will be held in the Council Chambers at Town Hall, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Lin Chojnicki July 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Now the BOE wants audience participation? Cuz some previous audiences have been overwhelming in favor of keeping their graduation ceremonies on their high school grounds (one EHS senior class voted 130 - 14), and the BOE ignored their wishes - moving them to Bloomfield cathedral instead. Too bad the BOE didn't listen to the wishes of previous audiences. Had they, perhaps the ACLU wouldn't have the Town of Enfield in a financial choke hold now. Ironic too how this year's two graduation ceremonies were held on the $$$$ synthetic turf football/soccer fields without the so-call protective cover the previous BOEs said would be required, in order to maintain warranty. Was that also just BOE lip service - cuz there was no protective cover on fields, and the fields didn't "vaporize" from usage? Does that mean the warranty is now void?
Steven July 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Timmy, Is this meeting going to be E-TV tonight do you know?? thanks Steve
Sam July 18, 2012 at 01:44 PM
ACLU really doesnt have the Town of Enfield in a financial choke hold. Not sure where you got that. So far this case has not been settled. Isnt it still sitting in the court waiting to be heard? The ACLU probably wants to settle the case early with Enfield because they have already been ruled against twice for this same type of lawsuit that they have brought against the Elmbrook School District in Wisconsin. Try reading the articles below. The way I see this If the ACLU loses the Elmbrook suit appeal then that may set a precedent and then they would not have any real case against Enfield and Enfield would win or it would be thrown out of court. Why would Enfield want to give the ACLU $500,000.00 when Enfield has not even been ruled against in court yet. The only thing that was ruled was the original temporary injunction, that really should have been appealed. Here are the exact words from the US constitution; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; " All Enfield was doing was renting the building to hold a "comfortable" graduation exercize, they were not trying to establish a religion. So they really should not lose this case. Here is the ruling on the first case they lost have to scroll down to find it. http://judgepedia.org/index.php/Charles_Clevert Here is the second one they lost http://pacificjustice.org/news/federal-appeals-court-rejects-lawsuit-against-graduations-church-building
Tim Jensen July 18, 2012 at 02:14 PM
It will be in the Council Chambers, so I believe it will be televised live.
Lin Chojnicki July 18, 2012 at 04:19 PM
>All Enfield was doing was renting the building to hold a "comfortable" graduation exercize, they were not trying to establish a religion. Bloomfield's First Cathedral is NOT just a "building" . The Town of Enfield rented a church for their public school graduation - against the wishes of far more than just those who filed the lawsuit. If the Town had rented a comfortable civic center (Hartford or Springfield), or a comfortable concert venue or even a comfortable banquet facility, than its unlikely the Town would be in this predicament. Why do a few continue to debate "what" this facility is - its a church - or should I say "cathedral" since that's what appears on their web site. The religious symbols are throughout - no mistaking what "this building" is all about. http://www.firstcathedral.org/just-for-you/
Sam July 18, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Lin I think the reason why people are still debating this is because, there are still people like yourself that actually think that the Enfield BOE did something wrong by wanting to rent this place. They did not violate the "U.S. Constitution as the ACLU would want you to believe. That is the real issue here not whether or not the graduation should have been held there or not. Again here is what is written in the U.S. Constitution, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; " Please explain to me how the Enfield BOE violated this, they were establishing no religion here and they were not prohibiting the free exersize of any religion. Nobody's rights were infringed on here, If these people who are suing the town (anonymously I might add) did not want to attend because it was being held in a church building, no one was forcing them to attend. You cant make everyone happy, just because these people dont believe in God, is really no reason to not enter a church. I doubt if there are any monsters in there.
Susan July 19, 2012 at 02:00 AM
I wish I had stayed home and repeatedly piked myself in the eye!

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