Category: News

IRC School District Drops the Ball on 2022 9/11 Anniversary and Constitution Day

Indian River County School Board Members, School District Attorney, School District Superintendent and towards the bottom of the image, school district staff
October 11th, 2022

At the September 26th, 2022 School Board Meeting, School Board Member Jackie Rosario brought up creating policy to carry out the intentions of a proclamation, such as the one passed in 2021 honoring Patriot Day.

The 2021 proclamation honoring Patriot Day can be viewed by clicking here.

Ms. Rosario told Indian River News it took her three years to get the IRC School Board to pass the proclamation in 2021, honoring Patriot Day.

Patriot Day under Federal Law is considered a Patriotic and National Observance Day. Examples of other Patriotic and National Observance Days include Veterans Day, Memorial Day, ‘Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,’ and National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Patriot Day became a Federal ‘Patriotic and National Observance Day’ a few months after the September 11th Attacks.

The law specifically requests the President of the United States to each year to sign a proclamation, asking for State, Local Governments and U.S. Citizens to “observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities.”

The School Board had a lengthy and somewhat tense discussion during their September 26th, 2022 meeting on what to do to ensure the Schools in the District teach about the September 11th terrorist attacks each year.

School Board Chairman Teri Barenborg said something needs to be in place for teaching about the September 11th terrorist attacks. She also said the Patriot Day proclamation “shouldn’t be honorary; it should be apart of what we do.” Ms. Rosario agreed with Mrs. Barenborg regarding the status of the proclamation.

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School Board Vice Chairman Dr. Peggy Jones Ed.D expressed caution about making the 9/11 lessons required in District Policy. She said by making the lessons required as a District Policy, it could open the door for other people to mandate through District Policy that other important topics get taught to students. Dr. Jones said she understands where Ms. Rosario is coming from regarding September 11th lessons.

SDIRC Superintendent Dr. David Moore specifically said what he does is policy driven and that proclamations were not binding. Dr. Moore said proclamations are not for driving action, instead policy is. He also said that proclamations are for “bringing awareness to or celebrating a specific initiative, not to define or drive action.”

Dr. Moore also said that in the future, there will be more clarity on ensuring proclamations are not written so that they show they action, but rather are maintained for their true purpose of “bringing awareness to or celebrating a specific initiative” and not waste the Board’s time.

The part where Dr. Moore said he wanted to avoid wasting the board’s time, Ms. Rosario got offended and said discussing the Patriot Day resolution and implementing it “is board work.”

While Dr. Moore said the School District had effectively covered the events of September 11th, 2022, this is false. Indian River News was provided with documentation on what the students were learning for both on 9/11 and Constitution Day in class.

The following Schools in the School District of Indian River County did nothing to have any sort of activities and or lessons on 2022’s anniversary of the September 11th, 2022 attacks:

  • Dodgertown Elementary School

  • Rosewood Elementary School

  • Treasure Coast Elementary School

  • Vero Beach Elementary School

  • Storm Grove Middle School

  • Gifford Middle School

Sebastian Elementary and Liberty Magnet only did a commemoration on their Morning Announcements. Fellsmere Elementary only did a commemoration on their Morning Announcements and through their School Messanger.

Osceola Elementary School did the following for both September 11th and Constitution Day, according to the document obtained by Indian River News:

“Mrs. Parentlea our media specialist will be using two different texts and activities during K-5 classes beginning next week to cover these observances. The books are ‘The Man Who Walked Between the Towers’ and ‘We the People’”

Pelican Island Elementary School had a free “Red, White, & Blue” dress down day on the Friday prior, September 9th in honor of 9/11. A tribute was also done on the morning announcements. Beachland Elementary and Indian River Academy did a dress down red white & blue as well, but also held a special moment of silence for first responders.

Glendale Elementary held only a moment of silence to “recognize all first responders and 9/11”

Citrus Elementary had a zip file sent to the source we got the documentation from. Indian River News has not been able to confirm at this time what Citrus Elementary did for the anniversary of 9/11 since we were not able to acquire the zip file.

Oslo Middle School had a morning remembrance and a short recap of events with a moment of silence.

Sebastian River Middle School had morning announcements regarding the September 11th attacks and various classroom activities the teachers were doing in Social Studies that day.

Sebastian River High School had a commemoration ceremony on September 9th, 2022.

Vero Beach High School had an extensive lesson plan started last year by the Vero Beach High School Social Studies Department:

“The VB HS Social Studies Department will continue what we began last school year. Each subject area group (US History, World History, US Govt/Econ) created lessons to be used in their classes (most of them were created to be used as bellwork.) Each subject area will focus on the impact of that event on that area. For example, Economics teachers focus on the impact that 9/11 had on the US economy and financial district. An example for Constitution Day, World History will look at the ideas used in the Constitution and how they connect to other time periods. We developed these lessons as a part of collaborative planning. Since both days fall on weekends this year, we will do our best to go over in class Thursday/Friday before the date (the Monday after for Constitution Day).”

Essentially, there were six schools that did nothing, some had a Patriotic Friday Dress Down and others only had a moment of silence and or acknowledgment on the morning announcements. Sebastian River High School had a remembrance ceremony that was held on September 9th.

Vero Beach High School had an entire curriculum plan that was developed last year, where certain classes would cover how the events of September 11th impacted the taught subject area.

Click here to view the document Indian River News cited for what the SDIRC Schools did and did not do for the 2022 anniversary of the September 11th attacks and for September 17th, Constitution Day.

Dr. Moore was left with the task of creating a procedure to address the issue Ms. Rosario brought up during the meeting regarding the lessons on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

Pocket Constitutions

Moms for Liberty – Indian River, Florida had attempted to donate Pocket Constitutions from the 917 Society to the School District of Indian River County. The School District of Indian River County had declined the donation without giving a reason, according to Moms for Liberty Indian River, Florida Chairman Jennifer Pippin. The donations were intended to be apart of Constitution Day, which was September 17th, 2022.

Pippin told Indian River News “SDIRC is one of the few school districts in the country that denied the free pocket constitutions donated by 917 Society thru Moms for Liberty. Most of the time they will oppose everything we do. That’s ok, we will continue to be Joyful Warriors and continue to fight for parental rights and children.”

Pippin also serves as Co-Founder of We the People Indian River County and as a member of the State of Florida Department of Education Library and Media Center workgroup.

There were a few citizens who spoke during public input during the September 26th School District of Indian River County General Business Meeting. The citizens had expressed their support for the donation of the Pocket Constitutions.

Moms for Liberty – Indian River, Florida Vice Chairman Chris Allen told Indian River News “I think the lack of communication was the biggest issue with SDIRC. The Moms for Liberty email regarding pocket Constitutions was sent out on September 2nd, and no official response has been received. The only official feedback we’ve gotten was from Barefoot during a school board meeting 24 days later. Rather than work with non-profits to distribute pocket Constitutions, the district’s stance has been to ignore and claim bias.

If the name of “917 Society” was too controversial to be distributed, why won’t the school district print any “SDIRC” labeled pocket Constitutions? Instead they gave the link to an online version of the Constitution, not caring whether students have internet access at home or not.”

Allen also serves as Co-Founder of We the People Indian River County.

School Board Member Brian Barefoot said the 917 Society is a Partisan Organization. He raised the concern if The 917 Society is able to donate a pocket Constitution with their logo on it, that it could open the door to an organization, such as the ACLU, to donate Pocket Constitutions with their logo on it.

The 917 Society is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization that seeks to educate Young People in the United States on their rights given to them in the U.S. Constitution.

The 917 Society also gives Pocket Constitutions to 8th grade students across the United States each year on September 17th, Constitution Day.

Indian River News was able to get a Pocket Constitution distributed by the 917 Society. The contents of Pocket Constitution is literally the U.S. Constitution with all 27 Amendments, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Citizenship Oath. There is NOTHING in that Pocket Constitution that is by any means Partisan.

Indian River News reached out to The 917 Society’s Executive Director Joni Bryan for comment on what School Board Member Brian Barefoot said about The 917 Society and their Pocket Constitutions. Bryan told Indian River News:

“I listened to Mr. Barefoot and his comments. I agree we are failing our students in many levels including civics education. He is mistaken in that The 917 Society is not a political organization but a 501c3 non-partisan education organization and we welcome all who love our Constitution and Country to be a part of our organization.

We promote Constitution Day in our 8th grade classrooms across America per federal mandate 108-447 that states ALL schools that receive federal funds are required to have a program on or near September 17th each year to honor this day. Our mission is to do just that by providing a free Pocket Constitution to each student free from any political commentary or bias, just the actual words of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution plus Amendments and the Oath of Citizenship. Moms for Liberty volunteered to deliver to the schools to help us with our mission, as we print and deliver or ship to the schools at no cost to the teachers or schools. We support our public school teachers and appreciate all of our volunteers who have differing views and beliefs. Our volunteers are from very diverse backgrounds, as it should be. We should not be making Constitution Education a political argument, but allow our youth to read it for themselves and use their critical thinking skills to decide what those words mean to them. Isn’t that what education is about?”

The 917 Society on the footer of their website has a disclaimer that says “as a not-for-profit organization with tax-exempt status, The 917 Society does not align with, endorse, or otherwise support any particular political candidate, organization, party, or platform. We do support our Constitution, the democratic process and encourage civic engagement.”

The 917 Society distributed 1.3 Million Pocket Constitutions in all 50 state in 2022. Bryan said there were 4 school districts in the United States that took extra steps to check the Pocket Constitutions before accepting the donations. Indian River County, Florida is the only one The 917 Society has taken issue with (that Bryan is aware of).

The School District of Indian River is the only School District in the United States that has had a problem with the pocket Constitutions to where the do not was not accepted.

Bryan said a lot of School Districts in Florida accepted the donation of the Pocket Constitutions, including Broward County, which is known to be a left leaning County in Florida.

The 917 Society plans to print 6 Million Pocket Constitutions for distribution in 2023 and is looking for more volunteers to get involved with the distribution of the Pocket Constitutions.

To learn more about The 917 Society, readers can visit their website 917society.org.

What did IRC Schools do for Constitution Day?

The document Indian River News obtained about which IRC Schools did and did not teach lessons about the events of September 11th, also listed what each IRC School did and did not do for Constitution Day. The entire section “What did IRC Schools do for Constitution Day?” will be referencing the Activity Document referenced for what the IRC Schools did and did not for 2022's September 11th anniversary. The document also listed what the IRC Schools did and did not do for Constitution Day as well.

The following SDIRC Schools did nothing for Constitution Day:

  • Citrus Elementary School

  • Dodgertown Elementary School

  • Rosewood Elementary School

  • Vero Beach Elementary School

  • Gifford Middle School

  • Oslo Middle School

  • Sebastian River Middle School

  • Storm Grove Middle School

  • Sebastian River High School

  • Vero Beach High School

Beachland Elementary School gave 4th and 5th grade students the “opportunity” to learn and memorize the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution.

Fellsmere Elementary School only had morning announcements and school messenger for Constitution Day.

Glendale Elementary School had students in grades 3 thorugh 5 ‘review’ the U.S. Constitution. They learned about what the U.S. Constitution is and why the United States has it during the week of September 17th.

Indian River Academy had students watching School House Rock Videos and talking about what the U.S. Constitution is. The lesson plan was announced on the morning announcements.

Liberty Elementary School only had mention of Constitution Day on the Morning Announcements.

Osceola Elementary School did the following for both September 11th and Constitution Day, according to the document obtained by Indian River News:

“Mrs. Parentlea our media specialist will be using two different texts and activities during K-5 classes beginning next week to cover these observances. The books are ‘The Man Who Walked Between the Towers’ and ‘We the People’”

Pelican Island Elementary School had student activities led by teachers on Friday September 16th, 2022 for Constitution Day.

Sebastian Elementary School only had morning announcements.

Update October 12th, 2022

Indian River News was told Circuit Judge Rebecca White spoke at Osceola Magnet School for Constitution Day. She did not speak on Constitution Day since she had Court that day. Judge White spoke on another day for Constitution Day.

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