For immediate release
Cupertino parents request that lawyers' group take further actions to correct mistakes.
Cupertino, 2/2/02: We, The Parents, a group of parents at Stevens Creek Elementary issued a statement today regarding the ADF’s response to their Open Letter of last week. The letter requested that the ADF issue a public apology and a retraction of their November 23 press release which falsely stated that the Declaration of Independence had been banned at their school.
The ADF, in a press release on 1/27/05, deny that the Declaration of Independence has been banned from Stevens Creek Elementary. Such a ban was widely reported following the ADF's November 23 press release headlined "Declaration of Independence banned from classroom", but the ADF now describe these reports as a mischaracterization of the truth. They also decry the behavior of those who "expressed themselves in a hateful, angry manner toward the school and others involved in the controversy," which the parent group believes was the direct result of the inflammatory headline of the November 23 statement.
"We truly feel this is a David vs. Goliath kind of a victory! The small mouse squeaked so loud the elephant had to move", said Jean Marie Danielson. "We welcome this first step from ADF to putting the record straight, but still look forward to receiving a public apology for the harm they have caused our school and our children," stated Richard Crouch. "What we have seen so far looks more like an effort to minimize their own legal liability."
ADF still claims in their latest press release that "Mr. Williams was prohibited from using the Declaration in his classroom despite having sound academic reasons to do so." John Bartas, co-founder of the group, responds "that claim sounds ridiculous when you know that the document is printed entirely in the text book used by all fifth grade students and teachers.The lawsuit states that Williams wanted to use was his own 'excerpts', not the complete and original Declaration."
Nathalie Schuler, media relations volunteer for the group, stated that the ADF has blamed the media for misrepresenting their claims and has not taken responsibility for its own actions. "We still see their original misleading and inflammatory press release on their website. Recently the school received another email with a clear ‘call to action’ asking ‘Christians’ to contact the school and convey their feelings, and to do more than just speak out. This e-mail reproduced the original ADF press release. We think this will continue to happen as long as they don’t withdraw it and publicly apologize for misleading the public in the first place."
The group also questions the validity of the claim by the ADF that Williams was singled out by the principal because he is a Christian. "There are other fifth grade teachers at our school who are also Christian and they are not required to turn in lesson plans," explained Larry Woodard, a parent at the school and former supporter of the ADF. "Since the ADF mislead the public on the Declaration ban, what does that say about the credibility of the rest of their claims?" asked Woodard.
The group continues to request a public retraction and apology from the ADF. The full text of the Open Letter to the ADF can be found of the parent’s website, www.stevenscreekparents.org.