Cramer Still Stickin’ It to Fargo, Cass County Citizens

Sen.-Elect Kevin Cramer should pay the bills for President Trump’s two campaign visits to Fargo. In North Dakota, we pay our own way. It’s the way it is. And it’s the right thing to do.

Pay Your Campaign Bills, Senator-Elect. It’s the Right Thing to Do.

One of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s last acts of her term once again reveals a person of character and class.

The headline in the Nov. 15, 2018 edition of The Forum, Fargo, N.D., says it all: “Heitkamp campaign picking up all costs for Biden visit.” She’s paying all the bills for hosting former Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Fargo to campaign on her behalf.

And why wouldn’t she? Doesn’t sound like that big a deal, really. Right?

Continue reading “Cramer Still Stickin’ It to Fargo, Cass County Citizens”

Josh Boschee is a Fine Public Servant. Period.

It’s time for the North Dakota news media to come up with a different secondary identifier for the man who is a representative in the North Dakota House and a fine public servant. Period.

Gender Identity / Sexual Orientation is No Longer “News”

Martin C. Fredricks IV is the 4,444th openly heterosexual blogger to write about politics, government, climate change and the environment in the United States.

I provide this information because a story in the local paper this morning made clear how important my gender identity/sexual orientation is to helping my readers understand anything and everything I do.

The story was about North Dakota Rep. Josh Boschee’s intentions to run for minority leader of the N.D. House of Representatives.

In identifying the representative, the reporter wrote, “Boschee has served in the Legislature since 2013 and is the state’s first openly gay lawmaker.”

As I’ve done so many times, I mumbled to myself, “What’s the difference?”

Continue reading “Josh Boschee is a Fine Public Servant. Period.”

When Gun Violence Hits Close to Home

When your 11-year-old is imploring you for answers about gun violence, when she’s afraid to go to school because of a shooting threat, things get real in a hurry. We need reasonable – and absolutely necessary – gun violence laws. Right now.

The Innocence We Enjoyed is a Fairy Tale to Our Children

“Why do we have to live this way?”

The evening before, a Thursday, one of our older kids received a snap from a friend who rides the bus that takes all three of our children to and from school. It said a middle schooler next to her had just muttered, “I’m going to shoot up that school tomorrow,” apparently referring to our 11-year-old’s school.

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I’m Takin’ the American Flag Back. Who’s With Me?

The American Flag is about Red, White & Blue, not Blue vs. Red. It’s mine, it’s yours, it’s ours. That’s why I’m takin’ it back. Who’s with me?

Patriotism is Red, White & Blue, not Blue vs. Red

I’m takin’ the American flag back.

For years, the “Grand Old Party” has been wrapping itself in Old Glory as if it has a stronger claim to patriotism, with the flag as its symbol, than anyone else.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, many non-Republican Americans have come to accept that, if not believe it. And somehow, somewhere along the way, people started equating those misguided perceptions with the idea that support for active-duty military personnel and veterans is wrapped up in the same narrative.

I’ve had more than enough of the suggestion that the flag serves or represents one party or ideology or citizen any more than any other party or ideology or citizen.

Continue reading “I’m Takin’ the American Flag Back. Who’s With Me?”

Flowers are Rainbow-Colored. People are Weird.

Let’s teach our children that weird is a good thing. Because it is.

And Nothing You Say Can Change My Mind


And she said, “Flowers are red.”

“Flowers are red young man / Green leaves are green / There’s no need to see flowers any other way / Than the way they always have been seen.”

She’s a teacher, a character in a song by Harry Chapin, speaking to a little boy on his first day of school.

He replies:

Continue reading “Flowers are Rainbow-Colored. People are Weird.”

Think Positive

I experienced a convergence through a couple of communications that came my way today.

 

I experienced a convergence through a few communications that came my way today.

Communication the First

The first was a newsletter in my inbox this morning from Bock’s Office

Continue reading “Think Positive”

#Enough #NeverAgain #ProtectOurKids

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Posted to Facebook:

Standing in solidarity with students at #FargoSouthHigh who walked out for 17 minutes of silence for the victims of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting. And asking our local, state and federal elected officials to do something meaningful to curb #gunviolence and #ProtectOurKids in their own schools. NOW is the time for you to do something, Sen. John HoevenSen. Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer. No more excuses, justifications or equivocation.  #NeverAgain #Enough

National School Walkout – Trading Emails with FPS Superintendent

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I was surprised to receive a response from FPS Superintendent Jeff Schatz today. Here it is, along with my response:

Continue reading “National School Walkout – Trading Emails with FPS Superintendent”

National School Walkout – FPS Response

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No surprise I haven’t yet received written answers from Fargo Public Schools to the three questions I posed in emails to Jeff Schatz, Fargo Public Schools superintendent, and Todd Bertsch, principal at Fargo South High.

  • Is it true that students will be disciplined for holding placards or signs on school grounds about gun violence in schools?
  • Is it true that students will be disciplined for chanting slogans on school grounds related to gun violence in schools?
  • Is it true that Fargo South students will not “be allowed” to walk out at 10 am on March 14, like students in the rest of the nation, that instead they only “will be allowed” to do so  at 1 pm on March 14?

No one wants to be in writing saying anything that might tie the school system into any sort of promise or liability. Disappointed, but not surprised.

What I did receive was a call from Principal Bertsch. This is likely to be the only response I get.

We had an amicable conversation that lasted about 10 minutes. Here’s the gist:

Fargo South High School administrators will work with students to ensure that, whatever happens on March 14, student safety is the top priority.

Fargo South High School administrators have not yet decided what will happen if kids walk out at a time other than 1 p.m., when they’ve said it will be OK for the students to do so.

Fargo South High School administrators have not yet decided what will happen if kids display placards protesting gun violence in schools.

Principal Bertsch said the school will not allow anything that the administration interprets as “disruptive” according to school policy and “…what it means to be a Fargo South Bruin,” which, if I understand his explanation, essentially is demonstrating strong character. I said that leaves a wide-open swath for interpretation. He didn’t argue the point, but reiterated that nothing has been discussed or decided along those lines yet.

Same goes for chanting slogans about gun violence in schools.

He said no one wants this to turn into some sort of “big political situation.” I responded that, like it or not, this is already a big political situation.

Regarding the 1 p.m. time rather than the 10 a.m. time that students across the rest of the country will protest, he said there is a previously scheduled career fair, and he doesn’t want to see that event, which includes 90 or so members of the business community giving their time and expertise to students, disrupted. Time is extremely valuable for many of those professionals, he said.

I understood where he was coming from, I said, but I’m not as concerned about those professionals’ time as I am about children being murdered in their schools and their peers’ rights to peacefully voice their thoughts and opinions about that situation.

Principal Bertsch backpedaled a bit there, saying it wasn’t about those professionals’ time but the kids’ safety if and when a protest occurs.

Finally, he assured me a communication about all of this will be going out to students and parents once decisions are made.

Principal Bertsch pointed out Fargo South High and Fargo Public Schools are between a rock and a hard place. If they say kids can’t participate in the National School Walkout without being disciplined, they’re not being sensitive or will be accused of infringing on someone’s rights. But if they say it’s O.K., and one bad apple does something that triggers violence, then they are responsible.

I agree with him on that. It’s not a scenario I’d like to find myself in. But then again, I’m not a public servant.

I appreciated Principal Bertsch’s phone call. From my perspective, it didn’t clarify much but at least he listened to my concerns about a lack of clarity regarding where FPS stands and what actions it might or might not take if/when students walk out.

But I’ll also say this: I’m anxiously awaiting the communication he mentioned. My hope is it’s not as vague as what we’ve already seen.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter what Fargo South High or Fargo Public Schools will or will not try to do to students who choose to exercise their 1st Amendment rights on March 14.

I think my friend, Paddy McLaughlin, said it best in response to my post about this on Facebook yesterday:

“When you have the courage and conviction to protest anything, you go into it knowingly breaking rules and ready to face the fallout. Whether its about war, race, human rights, the environment, ya just do it. It’s called activism and it builds your soul.”

We could all use a little soul building, I’d say.

#Enough #NeverAgain #SaveOurChildren #NRANoWay

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National School Walkout – ACLU Response

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Here is the response from the ACLU to my inquiry regarding students’ rights, and possible disciplinary actions by schools, if the students participate in or do certain things during the National School Walkout on March 14.

Dear Mr. Fredricks:

Thank you for contacting the ACLU of North Dakota.  As a general rule, children may not be punished for non-disruptive political speech while in a school building (i.e., an armband protesting the Vietnam war, a t-shirt [in some cases]).  However, “disruptive” behavior is subject to the school’s disciplinary code and the students who walk out are likely to be subject to punishment for the unexcused absences.  Because of the disruption, most courts would permit a student to be punished for chanting in school or on school grounds during school hours even if the chant is political in nature.  The severity of the punishment should be dictated by the individual district’s code of conduct, but this type of political action should not be punished more harshly because of its nature.  Basically, whatever the punishment for absence and disruption is when it occurs without a political motive should be the same punishment students receive in these March walkouts.  Students should not be punished by the district for conduct that occurs off campus at events unless the event is school-sponsored.  Is the district allowing students to walk out at 1PM with no consequences (i.e. unexcused absences)?  If so, the students may want to wait.  If there are consequences either way, they do not lose much by leaving at the earlier time.

Here is the link to a blog which may help:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/student-speech-and-privacy/can-schools-discipline-students-protesting

Thank you.

 -The ACLU of North Dakota

 

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#Enough #NeverAgain #SaveOurChildren #NRANoWay