At the School District of Indian River County General Business Meeting that was held on April 25th, 2022, Reverend Dr. John Vacchiano of Church at the Cross in Sebastian spoke during public input. He spoke about what he finds needs to change in our public education system, pointing to various influential figures in early American history. He’s been involved with education for almost 30 years in public, private and home school education.
Reverend Dr. Vacchiano said he was “encouraged” by the district’s “transforming of education.” He said he is looking to encourage and help in any way he can. He said he’s had people “come around” him that “really want to see our education transformed.”
He said he would “like to transform education back to founding principles that works.”
Reverend Dr. Vacchiano pointed to the Board of Regents at a School in New York, which had “authorized” saying a prayer at the beginning of the school day in their schools. The prayer was “all mighty God, we acknowledge our dependence thee and beg thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country. Reverend Dr. Vacchiano called this a “simple prayer to begin the day.” He then said the U.S. Supreme Court had in 1962 banned prayer in public schools. The Supreme Court case that decided this was Engel v. Vitale.
Reverend Dr. Vacchiano expressed his disagreement with the ruling made in that case, calling it Unconstitutional.
He went on to quote Noah Webster, who has said “education that is devoid of religious instruction is defective.” Reverend Dr. Vacchiano said that Noah Webster is known as the “School Master of America.” He went on to quote Noah Webster again saying “any system of education there which limits instruction to the arts, the sciences and rejects the aids of religion in forming the character of citizens is effectively defective.” “In my view the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident to my mind that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government, intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
After saying that the quote is from “the School Master of America,” referring to Noah Webster, Reverend Dr. Vacchiano said “I would love to transform education back to the founding principles that we know have worked.”
Reverend Dr. Vacchiano then quoted 18th Century Congressman from Massachusetts Fisher Ames. Ames was apart of the Federalist Party. The quote said “should not the bible regain the place it once held as a school book. Its morals are pure; its examples are captivating and noble; the reverence for the sacred book that is thus early impressed last long, and probably not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind and in no book is there so good English, so pure and so elegante and by teaching the same, they will speak a like and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language and as well as of faith.”
Reverend Dr. Vacchiano would go on to say about Noah Webster’s writings on the education of youth in America “the education of youth in all governments, an object of the first of consequence.”
Reverend Dr. Vacchiano then said “kids have to be first. The impression received in early life usually forms the character of individuals and forms in turn the character of a nation.”
He closed his remarks by saying “if we really want to get back to the truths of transforming education, we need religion, morality and knowledge as our pillars of education.”
When Reverend Dr. Vacchiano was done speaking during public input, he was applauded by the audience at the School Board Meeting. However, School Board Chairman Teri Barenborg moved to stop the applause from the audience.
School Board Chairman Teri Barenborg has considered clapping during a School Board meeting to be considered a disruption of a School Board meeting. She has used her authority as School Board Chairman to stop all applause during the meetings, with exception of applause after Presentations done at the beginning of School Board meetings.
Reverend Dr. Vacchiano has a special church service on the 4th Sunday of every month called Patriot Church. He talks about how in the United States as a Country needs to get back to its Christian roots to help keep our Country as strong prosperous nation. This does not advocate for a State Sponsored Church. Separate of Church and State was about ensuring that the United States does not have a State Sponsored Church. There are Countries with State Religions, such as the North African and Middle Eastern Islamic Countries and the United Kingdom (England, Isle of Man and Channel Islands only).