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Letters to the Editor
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The window for change at the school board is now


While the recent Sunday Savannah Morning News report was refreshingly

thorough, their timeline for school superintendents left out one important detail.

They listed Sylvester Rains as our school superintendent from 1978-1982. However, that information was incorrect. Our school board voted to fire Mr. Rains less than a year after his contract began.

The Chatham County taxpayers continued to pay Mr. Rains’ salary,

along with Mr. Formey’s, for at least 3 more years.

Teachers were lucky to get paper clips in those days. I spent my own money on basic supplies and teaching materials, as did most of the teachers I knew.

Our school board members have a troubling legacy of spending our

children’s tax dollars to buy out the contracts of superintendents they cannot, or will not, get along with. The faces have changed since Mr. Rains’ tenure, but the dysfunction remains the same. They’d rather mortgage our children’s educational futures than forfeit their seat of


But it’s our own complacency that allows them to push their personal

political agendas through fear and intimidation.

Now they’re stuck on Gary Lackey’s letter to SACS while stubbornly

refusing to accept responsibility for their actions. Mr. Lackey deserves a

medal for bravery, but he’s received nothing but contempt. All this

venom for simply telling the truth?

And the veiled threat of retaliation made against him by a board member after a closed door board meeting only further erodes the public’s trust. Mr. Lackey was just one of many messengers reporting the board members’ misdeeds to SACS. He broke the administrative silence to expose what had been standard operating procedure for

many years.

So why do they continue with their dead horse debates when the primary issue they should be focusing on is how to get our school system off probation?

The window of opportunity for real change at 208 Bull Street is NOW!

Positive change will never happen if the people fail to personally respond to this critical call to action. The gridlock Mr. Golson speaks of did not come from Colonel O’Sullivan alone. It originated from deep within the school board’s outdated power structure.

Gridlock has impeded all successful leadership from taking hold for many years severely damaging our children’s educational opportunities. To believe

it’ll all go away by firing our superintendent is naive at best.

If our board members refuse to change the way they do business, and

do so without their endless bickering and finger-pointing debates, it becomes our responsibility to facilitate these necessary changes.

We must take back our school system by demanding that our elected officials focus ONLY on the educational needs of our children. Teachers, staff members, students, parents and administrators need their full cooperation and support, but only from a distance.

Study the full text of the SACS report when it becomes available to the public. Then show up prepared to speak out at the next town hall meeting.

Respectfully demand legitimate answers to these issues from every school board member present. Expect them to produce a cohesive written plan that addresses every issue that must be resolved to keep our children moving forward and our SACS accreditation


Should the majority of our citizens support resignations, those board

members involved should remember that they’re not just responsible to the voters in their districts.

Every member of the Savannah/Chatham School Board is accountable to over 35,000 children, 5,000 employees and 250,000 residents.

The message is simple!

If you cannot leave your personal political agendas, difficult personalties and inflated egos at home, then resign from our school board.

Kathryn Banks


The ‘faith of our fathers’ is still holding on


“Faith of Our Fathers,” by Margaret DeBolt, caught my eye, and after reading the article I felt that DeBolt missed the whole meaning of the separation of church and state.

When people discuss the prevention of the separation of church and state, they are not fighting for the creation of a religious state based on one religion or denomination. On the contrary, they are emphasizing the importance of embracing as a nation, a set of values and divine guidance that has strong connections to all religions as a whole.

In “Faith of Our Fathers,” Margaret DeBolt mentioned numerous Founding Fathers and past presidents and attempted to disprove their personal and political connections with religion. Some of our nation’s most religious presidents were portrayed as shying from religion, refusing to practice religion until out of office and in some cases did not even attend church.

By looking very deep into the lives of the presidents she mentioned and the lives of many other Founding Fathers, you will see that their writings and actions showed that they had strong aspirations and beliefs that America was formed by the Almighty and guided by values that are derived from a connection to religion.

Consistently our leaders have shown the place for religion in their lives and their belief that America received its blessings from the Almighty. You can find proof in America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations by William J. Federer and The Price of Freedom by Michael W. Smith. I encourage you to see for yourself, you will find these books are rather enlightening.

America is very unique and blessed. The Athenians and Romans were the only societies that previously attempted creating a democracy. Both were unsuccessful in sharing democracy with the world. America was not.

The American Revolution persevered against the odds to become a new nation. Colonial America was a place where only fifty percent of the population was committed to the cause for independence, where you could not trust your neighbor because he might be loyal to the king, and a new nation whose Army had no experience and was out manned and out gunned from the beginning. You will find that no such cause could have been successful without divine intervention.

That same divine intervention preserved His project throughout the Civil War and has used this nation to spread not only democracy to the rest of the world but a set of values and a greater hope that has made the world a better place. Tyrants such as King George, Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein have fallen before the spirit that is America.

It is undeniable that our Founding Fathers wanted Freedom of Religion. Their intent was not to create a religious state that was focused on one religion or the government dictating religion to its citizens. The connection between church and state is about values and acknowledging divine guidance in the day to day works of our nation.

A connection between church and state is for a secure future for us and our children. It is about family values, morals and a giving spirit that will ensure our society will remain steadfast as the model for democracy.

The model for these values comes from Religion. Religion is the only source of divine morals and values and the true guide for how we ought to live our lives so that we do not become selfish and forget about our fellow man.

America has two paths it can choose: One path is a commitment to values and morals that have been written into our government and have stood as a guide to our leaders for over 228 years. Or we can take the other path, expunge God and religion from society. We can watch as our values and stability erode and we find that our outcome will be the same as the Athenians and Romans.

Our Founding Fathers found it appropriate to put “In God We Trust” on our currency. It is only appropriate that we follow in their footsteps and preserve their vision.

D. S. Bickford


Gays have served with honor


The Republican Party condones policies defining love between two adults and who has the right to love by the sodomy laws, which if you look are all in Southern Bible Belt states.

In the ‘90s when I first moved to Maine, they had a ballot question about gays. We did not want special rights, but we also did not want to be discriminated against because of our sexual orientation when it came to housing, jobs and so forth.

It is well known that the Republican Party has stood with the religious right and their bigotry concerning gays and lesbians. Even in the military the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy does not work.

Example: a girl sailor wears her hair regulation, she keeps to herself and does not date. The male powers at be consider her a lesbian and harass her

into admitting she’s lesbian and summarily discharge her. The thing being is that 90 percent of discharges concerning gays have nothing to do with sexual orientation, just the slightest doubt because someone is quiet, or reserved just trying to do their duty.

The funny thing is that gays and lesbians have served with honor and distinction in every war known to man, from the Middle Ages to now in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the government still discriminates against them for being different. I guess the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are a joke, as is the Constitution.

Two hundred years ago people fleeing the old world because of religious persecution came here. They’re not discriminated against. But we are, because of how God created us and who we choose to love.

Murdock Todd Cote