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Editorials

  • Allegiance pledge recital not mandatory

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The Pledge of Allegiance is a simple and clear way of expressing love of country.
    It’s also a voluntary patriotic exercise — declared as such more than 50 years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court.
    Still, some officials or legislatures periodically try to coerce others into reciting the Pledge. A recent attempt involves a Mississippi judge who jailed a lawyer who refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance last October at the start of a court session.

  • Schools can’t be substitute for churches

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    If only a fraction of the allegations are true, public school officials in Sumner County have been treating their school district like a missionary field for the Christian faith.
    Nine students — who understandably wish to remain anonymous — have filed suit with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union seeking to end school promotion of religion.

  • Stout stuck to her guns, cared about her town

     

  • No recording policy baffling twist for public

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    More than 220 years ago, the nation’s founders — after gathering in Philadelphia to create the Declaration of Independence — risked life, liberty and property in fighting to create a new nation.
    Admittedly, they never had to overcome the fear of being seen on Facebook.
    Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., has banned most video and audio recording devices from his town-hall meetings.

  • Safer pedestrian crossings needed on busy streets

    Kingston is a wonderful place to walk if you just want to get exercise along the lakefront.
    But if you ever find yourself trying to cross busy Kentucky Street on foot — watch out.
    Last week a teenage girl was struck by a car as she was trying to do just that. While her injuries didn’t seem to be life-threatening, the accident could have been deadly.
    Even at well-designated major intersections like Race Street at Kentucky Street, pedestrians are dangerously pitted against motorists.

  • Safer pedestrian crossings needed on busy streets

    Kingston is a wonderful place to walk if you just want to get exercise along the lakefront.
    But if you ever find yourself trying to cross busy Kentucky Street on foot — watch out.
    Last week a teenage girl was struck by a car as she was trying to do just that. While her injuries didn’t seem to be life-threatening, the accident could have been deadly.
    Even at well-designated major intersections like Race Street at Kentucky Street, pedestrians are dangerously pitted against motorists.

  • Free-speech issues abound on Internet

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Freedom of speech might logically seem to apply the same way whether the speech takes place on the street corner or on the Internet.
    But that basic First Amendment premise is as yet unsettled in our new Web world. An intricate set of laws and judicial opinions on free speech and defamation has evolved over several centuries, from a system that existed mainly to protect the elite from criticism to one that enables anyone to seek compensation for what they see as unfair damage to their reputation.

  • Discussion, not closed doors, may better serve official

    By GENE POICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has a complaint about a news report by an Atlanta TV station, but his objections likely would be better served by an open debate than a closed door.
    A reporter and photographer from WAGA-TV, a Fox network station, were refused entry May 13 into Deal’s office for the signing of a controversial immigration bill. A day earlier, the station had reported on an investigation involving Deal’s election campaign and a fundraising company linked to the governor’s daughter-in-law.

  • Graduation at church means more conflict

    By CHARLES C. HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Like thousands of other public school students across the country, seniors in Irving, Texas, will graduate from high school next month — although in Irving they’ll go to church to get their diplomas.
    The venue is the Potter House, a megachurch led by Bishop T.D. Jakes, site of Irving commencements since 2004.
    But this year’s ceremony will be the last mixing of secular and sacred during graduation in the Dallas-area school district.

  • Trying to stifle student reporting just won’t work

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Wanna keep a secret? Betcha can’t — particularly when it involves an arrest and later the resignation of a local teacher.
    But when allegations of improper conduct involving a teacher are involved, principals still keep trying to stifle the news through the heavy-handed — and futile — method of censoring the school publication.