Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is Public Opinion swinging in Jessica Ahlquist's Favor?

Got up and checked out the paper: My niece Jessica was on the front page again. But this time, it was different. The paper was running a series of articles, five in all by my count, that were basically in support of Jessica and the ruling in her favor by Judge Lagueux. Check out:

Still a lively experiment

Religion still has a place in schools, says scholar

Mural at Bain removed without fanfare last year

Ex-prayer-mural supporter now advocates removing religious words

Timeline: The school prayer at Cranston West

Judge details how, why he ruled

Also, in a feature called "IN QUOTES THE WEEK THAT WAS" the Providence Journal ran the following:
“Not once in my four years have we been forced to read or say the prayer. Please consider appealing the decision to take down the prayer. … If we’re gonna go down, let’s go down fighting.”
Cranston West Student Council President Patrick McAssey, addressing the School Committee about the controversial prayer banner in his school.
I note this because Patrick McAssey is the student who emailed me and asked me to remove the video of his statement to the Cranston School Committee from last Tuesday night, claiming that his statements were for the School Board only and that as a minor he thought his comments should not be put on YouTube for all to see. I disagreed with his logic, but removed the video because he is a minor and I didn't want to link him forever to words he might regret. But this quote in the newspaper is making me rethink my decision.

Why should I protect someone who makes public comments in a public forum, regardless of their age?

Given the potential for a sudden swing in support for Jessica's position, I've organized a Facebook event to get people out to the next School Committee meeting this coming Wednesday. Here's the link:

I'm hoping to get at least a hundred people to attend.
Meanwhile, Jessica was in Alabama, giving this excellent talk about her experiences:


  1. Is there a way those of us far away could send a lrtter or something to the committee in support of Jessica?

    Rev. Mike

  2. Letters to any of the school committee members, Superintendent of Schools Peter Nero and Mayor Fung might be of help, but what is needed now is action. If you live within twenty miles of Rhode Island, consider coming to the School Committee meeting on Wednesday. (There is more info linked in the blog post above.)

    Bring people, signs, cameras and a nice attitude.

  3. I would put the video back up. Mr. McAssey can send you a cease and desist letter that will indicate what laws you would be violating (if any).

    In reality, Mr. McAssey had no expectation of privacy when addressing a public body during an open meeting. You are not using his likeness for commercial gain, nor are you defaming him. I do not believe him being a minor grants him an expectation of privacy that would make you unable to publicize his public statements.

    Perhaps you can double-check with the group's attorneys.

  4. Master McAssey has a rather unfortunate name but he has no right to expect privacy at a public event. He needs to learn that lesson.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Will you be creating another Facebook event for the February 16th meeting? I'm considering taking the day off work and coming out to support.