The Asylum we call Bellingham Public Schools

Last fall I wrote Bellingham Public Schools about their poor choice in allowing Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (WPJC) use of their facilities for an Amy Goodman booksigning. I cited WPJC’s involvement with AWOL soldiers as reason for not allowing them to use the facilities. Their response was:

It is our policy and the law to make our school facilities available for community use. Outside groups pay a fee to rent the space. Renting to any group does not mean that the Bellingham School District endorses their point of view. The Whatcom Peace and Justice Center rented this space for their event. However, I am told they have recently canceled their rental for this event.

My warning fell on deaf ears, but I was glad to see the booksigning was not going to be held at the school.

Here we are today with Village Books holding a fundraiser for WPJC at another high school.

Village Books hosts
Time: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 7:00 PM
Location: Sehome High School
Rick Steves will return to Bellingham to present a slide show and talk about travel in Europe. He is the author of numerous European travel books and is regularly seen on PBS and heard on NPR. Proceeds from the $3 ticket for this event will go to the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

Of course I have problems with this event. As a matter of fact, two big problems.

First problem is with a taxpayer facility, rented or not, being used for a WPJC fundraiser. The WPJC stands against the values which made our nation what it is today. They promote hatred of our President, disdain for our legal process, socialism & communist ideals over capitalism & generosity, they fund and promote desertion among the troops while our nation is at war. WPJC is not a local grassroots peace organization grown recently out of compassion for local youth sent to Iraq. The WPJC is the local membership for national United for Peace and Justice. An organization led by, and funded by, longtime socialist/communists whose anti-US roots go back decades.

Second problem is what I hope is just an awareness issue rather than poor judgment. And I know that the school district’s claims of just renting the facility, but I’m sure there is some amount of oversight on who rents and for what. Oh, the problem…Rick Steves, travel author? No, Rick Steves who sits on the board at the National Organization for Reforming Marijuana Laws (NORML) and is quoted on NORML’s website.

“I support the decriminalization of marijuana for many reasons. I consider my activism a matter of good citizenship. And I consider the work of NORML an important service-one that I’m enthusiastic and proud to support.”

How does this jive with Just Say No? Should we expect some oversight and good judgment in the rental of taxpayer facilities, especially high schools? I think so.

I haven’t decided if I will take the time to write another letter, maybe I’ll just sit here and continue to wonder: Who is running the asylum?

1/30/07 – I guess it might be OK to have this guy in a school since the Democrats feel they have control of things in Whatcom county. And the Whatcom Democrats platform does including legalizing marijuana. Oh, you didn’t hear that? The new slogan is Just Say Yes to Drugs.

  • The decriminalization of marijuana and reduction of sentences for drug use crimes.
  • The release of all persons convicted of marijuana possession of less than 40 grams, and the expulsion of all related records;

Whatcom Democrats Platform

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2 Responses to “The Asylum we call Bellingham Public Schools”

  1. wally says:

    Hey, thanks for the informative, almost first hand information. I have never run across his show on the 4 fuzzy Canadian stations I get on my rabbit ear/hanger antenna. I do check out Cannabis News occasionally and his name is all over the place. I checked there just now and saw that UCSB chapter of NORML is hosting a joint rolling contest. And I liked their slogan “Just Say NO to the Drug War. Now that’s a quality education.

    So, if he has been there before, then I’d think that Sehome should be aware of his political views and his willingness to express them. Guess it’s AOK with our educators.

  2. Steve says:

    I have friends that were planning a Europe trip a couple years ago. I told them about Rick Steves’ TV show, which I had seen a few times. We knew nothing of his political views at the time.

    Not long after that, our friends were excited when they heard this “travel guru” was coming to Sehome High School, so they bought tickets and attended. Half-way through the presentation, as Steves continually elaborated with anti-war, anti-Bush and flower power rhetoric, my friends got up and walked out in disgust.

    They e-mailed him the next day expressing frustration and anger regarding what was supposed to be a travel-planning presentation. He e-mailed back a half-apology, saying he normally wasn’t that negative about our country in his regular presentation, but assumed since he was in Bellingham, that the crowd could be more receptive to his political views.

    He may have been correct, my friends don’t recall seeing anyone else walk out of the Sehome gym that night.