Letter: Schools should not work with Southern Poverty Law Center

To the Editor:

The Board of Education should require the school administration to cease work with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). In her statement about a recent swastika incident at the high school, the superintendent noted that she would continue working with the Anti-Defamation League and the SPLC.

The Anti-Defamation League has a long, principled history of opposing vile treatment of individuals based on religion, race, or beliefs. It is an appropriate partner for dealing with violations of individual liberty. The SPLC is not.

The SPLC was founded 46 years ago to apply the rule of law fighting the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. I contributed to that early effort. Unfortunately, the SPLC has degenerated into a political interest group promoting an extreme left-wing agenda. It tries to shut down debate over policy issues by labeling more than 900 groups as “hate” groups simply because they advocate policies different from the SPLC statist agenda.

The “hate” groups include religious organizations and individuals that want to practice their beliefs without government interference — for example, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim crusader against oppression of women by Shariah law. SPLC “hate” groups include the Alliance Defending Freedom, a public-interest law firm that has won several Supreme Court cases protecting religious liberty and successfully concluded 90% of its cases to guarantee freedom of speech on campuses.

Radical political interest groups like the SPLC have no place in running a public school. Like any other political organization, it can argue its case in the public square, and classes may well study it as one among many political interest groups, but schools must not promote its political propaganda. Many people wouldn’t want to hire Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News to advise our schools. Working with the SPLC is the same thing, just at the other extreme.

John Early

Fieldcrest Drive, Nov. 29

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