Nat Hentoff (Lesson plan for the nation, 12/20) argues compellingly, but not from the facts. This is understandable, as the Cupertino Union School District has remained tight-lipped about events, apparently in the hope that Stephen William's lawsuit would be tried in the courts rather than in the media. As a parent of two children at Stevens Creek Elementary I do not have the full picture, but I can clarify the following.
First, a number of parents complained over a period of time about Mr. Williams proselytizing in class. These may turn out to be unjustified, but there was not just one complaint.
Second, Mr. Williams has not been stopped from passing out the Declaration of Independence. It is printed in full in the text book that he uses. It also hangs prominently, where it always has, in the school library.
Third, no children at Stevens Creek are deprived of their right to receive information central to their education as Americans. Fifth grade history, which is taught in full compliance with State and District standards, does as good a job as one could hope to find in presenting the religious and social setting of the Nation's foundation. (My daughter, who was not taught by Mr. Williams, developed a fascination in the religious beliefs of the early puritan colonists as a result of history lessons). The full Pledge of Allegiance, with "under God", is recited daily in the school.
The principal, Patricia Vidmar, is in no need of a remedial course on the Constitution. She is a conscientious, patriotic and fair person, who bears no resemblance to the God-forsaken monster portrayed in some quarters.