Don’t burden the public schools with unnecessary rules

If a rule is good, then all schools getting taxpayer money (including those tax credit scholarship funds) should be required to follow it.  If it isn’t a good rule, then why do public schools have to follow it?

Please write your state representative.  And if they don’t agree with you, please consider that when you vote in August and November.  Why are charters and private schools that receive taxpayer money not required to follow the same rules (including FS 1006.28 to 1006.31) as public schools?   You can find those statutes at LINK

In my view Florida Citizens Alliance is the bad guy in this story. is the good guy.

Quote from an article found at :

And parent Eric Otto said “… Florida Citizens Alliance wants religion to balance science in a science class. To me that seems like teaching financial literacy in english class.”

Here is a quote from the Florida Citizens Alliance website (LINK)

[Under] FS 1006.31 Charlotte County residents [note it says residents and not parents] presented their concerns to the school board ……. at least fifteen of the textbooks present evolution as fact. … which violates [according to Florida Citizens Alliance] Florida law (FS 1006.31.2) that requires textbooks to be “accurate, objective, balanced, non-inflammatory”

Excerpt from Rabbi Shapiro’s article that alerted me to this issue:

The Florida Citizen’s Alliance, the FLCA, is likely to bring their efforts to a county near us!  We must remain vigilant and prepared to preserve academic integrity and sound science. When they challenge textbooks being used in our neighborhoods, a hearing is required [by FS 1006.31]. You can be a hearing officer, if you wish!  Just contact the school board and let them know you wish to become a hearing officer for cases of school book challenges!

How to Contact the Board Office


• District 1 – The Honorable Cheryl Grymes|

• District 2 – The Honorable Scott Shine

• District 3 – The Honorable Ashley Smith Juarez|

• District 4 – The Honorable Paula D. Wright|

• District 5 – The Honorable Warren A. Jones |

• District 6 – The Honorable Becki Couch |

• District 7 – The Honorable Lori Hershey |


• District 1 – The Honorable Cheryl Grymes | 390-2371

• District 2 – The Honorable Scott Shine | 390-2386

• District 3 – The Honorable Ashley Smith Juarez | 390-2239

• District 4 – The Honorable Paula D. Wright | 390-2374

• District 5 – The Honorable Warren A. Jones | 390-2372

• District 6 – The Honorable Becki Couch | 390-2373

• District 7 – The Honorable Lori Hershey | 390-2375

IF someone insists on discriminating against minority religions as part of their government job, then that isn’t the job for them.  Catholics, Baptists, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, and all other world views need to be treated equally.

podium but biggerDuring the 2017-2018 City Council year, Doyle Carter has invited mostly Baptists to give the invocation. Here is a link to the list of invocation speakers for the 2017-2018 City Council year:

I have asked Doyle Carter repeatedly about his selection process.  My question went unanswered.

If Doyle Carter runs for another office, please keep in mind that he did not answer my question asking him how he selects invocation speakers.  I was told by City Council President Anna Brosche that Carter volunteered for the position of chaplain.   Why is he refusing to tell us how he selects the invocation speakers?  Is that the kind of elected official you want in office?   Do you want to elect someone who won’t tell his constituents how he conducts the job he has volunteered to do?

The Jacksonville City Council has an invocation forum which is supposed to be open to the public. The Greece v Galloway U.S. Supreme Court decision is clear when it comes to invocations at City Council meetings. If the Jacksonville City Council opens the forum to the public, then it must be open to all voices. In other words, you don’t get to pick and choose whom you accept and whom you refuse. When you ignore a Jacksonville citizen or an entire subset of Jacksonville citizens attempting to participate in this public forum, you are essentially saying to that person or persons their beliefs or their invocations are not welcome in their own community. It’s prejudicial and unconstitutional, but it is also unkind and unfair.

The City Council President can appoint a chaplain.  The chaplain is in charge of appointing invocation speakers.  The City Council President (and hence the President’s appointees) changes every year. I hope future City Council Presidents will appoint chaplains who do not have a goal of excluding people from the invocation period.

IF someone has the belief that all prayers need to include the words “in Jesus’s name we pray” and if they also believe  no one should be allowed to give the invocation (out loud at the podium at a government meeting) unless they agree to say those words, then this person is NOT someone who should be appointed as chaplain.   Here is a quote from past City Council President Clay Yarborough:

 “The scripture teaches that unless one prays in the name of Jesus Christ, and since he is our only way to the Father, that is how one should pray. And that is what I believe.”

That quote can be found at this link:  When Yarborough became City Council President, he appointed Doyle Carter to be Chaplain.  During that 2014-2015 City Council year, only Doyle Carter and Kimberly Daniels gave the invocation. They both always said the words “in Jesus’ Name We Pray” during the invocation period.  Many people spoke during the public comment period about the practice of not inviting the entire community to have the opportunity to speak during the invocation period. Here is a link to one of those 3 minute public comments:

During the 2015-2016 City Council year, a Humanist’s request to give the invocation was accepted.  Here is the link to his invocation at the city council meeting:

During the 2016-2017 City Council year, there was more diversity as seen on the list at this link:

BUT during the 2017-2018 City Council year, Doyle Carter has invited mostly Baptists to give the invocation. Here is a link to the list of invocation speakers for the 2017-2018 City Council year:  Please note that it is one Catholic and the rest Protestants and mostly Baptists.  Why didn’t Carter invite speakers from other religions?  Why did he volunteer for a job that he didn’t want to properly perform?

Here is a copy of my emails where I asked Carter about his policy:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Susan
Date: Mon, Apr 9, 2018
To: “Carter, Doyle” <>, “Brosche, Anna” <>, “Gabriel, Jason” <>
Honorable Doyle Carter,

The list that you sent me did not include the date that the speakers applied.  IF you do NOT keep track of that, please let me know.  IF you did keep track of it, please provide me that information under the rules of 119 or the Florida Statutes.  Specifically I have these questions:
1. Do you put people on the schedule as they apply?  If yes, was the list that you provided me in order of when people applied?
2. Do you put people on a list of people applying with no indication of the date they applied?  If yes, how do you pick who will be on the schedule?
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Susan
Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2018

Council Member Carter— Thank you for the list (attached).  I had hoped that it would include the dates that people contacted you requesting to be put on the list and the method by which they contacted you.  Would you please include that information?  How do you make your choices?  Do you put people on the list as they call (or email) with the date of contact?
Concerned citizen that loves our First Amendment


Please ask the city council to be inclusive and respect all residents of Jacksonville

I appreciate the hard work of the city council.   I appreciate that other city council presidents have invited diverse groups.  I hope that future city council presidents won’t follow the example of City Council Chaplain Doyle Carter as he followed a discriminatory policy during his 2017-2018 reign as chaplain.  There should be an open and transparent and non discriminatory policy of inviting invocation speakers.   Everyone needs to be included and be given the chance to pray or give an inspirational invocation OR else they should quit doing them.

Please consider writing the new city council president.  Perhaps you’d say something like this (I copied it from someone else):

Past Council Presidents, through their designated Council Chaplains, have gotten this practice right. For example, the diversity of the invocation speakers was very appropriate, and affirming of all people, during the time your colleague, Council Member Joyce Morgan, served as Chaplain. However, her sterling example served as a tremendous contrast to the invocation speakers selected by her successor, Council Member Doyle Carter. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests made to Council President Anna Brosche and Council Member Carter, there was very little diversity among the invocation speakers selected to deliver remarks in the current Council year.

We are asking you today, before your term as Council President begins, to be thoughtful about your selection of Chaplain. We especially are asking that the faith and thought leaders chosen to give the invocation at future Council meetings is as representative as possible of the diversity of our City. As a world-class City, we hope to see men and women, racial and ethnic diversity, and theists and non-theists represented.

Sometimes we decide that we’re going to speak out about the injustices

Reprinted with permission.
This is by Rabbi Merrill Shapiro

The story goes that three frogs were sitting on a lily pad when one decided to jump off to cool herself off in the refreshing waters in the pond. At that point, how many frogs were sitting on the lily pad?

This is a frequently told story by former Mayor of Palm Coast, Jon Netts. A long time educator in Bergen County, New Jersey, Netts would use this story to illustrate an important point.

So….what’s the answer?

Netts, with his charming smile and sparkling eyes would be happy to tell you.

The answer is three!! Were you fooled? Or, did you see where this was headed from the start?

Making a decision to do something just isn’t the same as getting it done! We all, at some time or another, make a decision to do something, but never quite follow through, never quite turn our decision into a reality.

Sometimes we decide that we’re going to speak out about the injustices sustained by non-Christians every time a Jacksonville City Council invocation includes the name of Jesus. But do we follow through? Do we jump into the cool, refreshing water or does a body at rest tend to stay at rest? Think about the non-Christian children who attend those meetings. Do they deserve to have their “leaders” let them know they are only second-class citizens because of their heartfelt beliefs?

Sometimes we decide that we need to weigh-in on laws that discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs. Certainly while you are reading this, our Muslim sisters and brothers would like to see us step up and do something. But, we too often find ourselves just sitting on the lily pad. The inertia in our bones and hearts allows an unconstitutional and downright un-American practice of not permitting Muslim immigrants access to our borders, to become rooted.

After all, the only thing evil needs to triumph is my silence and yours!