Keep the door open

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

We believe that one size doesn’t fit all and that it is important to avoid instituting limitations that prevent good opportunities.

We would like to see these principles applied by the newly-formed committee designed to research policy regarding memorials at Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS).

The committee was formed after a memorial bench honoring the late Colton Osborne sparked controversy due to the combination of it featuring a Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, and it being placed on CCPS property — the entrance of Randolph-Henry High School’s Bankston Field.

The bench was dedicated March 16, and the issue of its legality was raised in September.

After being consulted, Craig Wood, the school board attorney, said the bench posed a significant “religious establishment” problem, referring to the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

Bacon/Saxe District School Board Member JonPaul Berkley said while details of a memorial policy are still being discussed by the newly-formed committee, the policy will likely include something along the lines of a standard 12×12 memorial for future inquiries that will be much larger than a brick but smaller than a bench.

We like the concept of that as an option, but we’d like the committee to leave room for memorials — both big and small — that could be of practical benefit to the school division. CCPS might have a need that could be met by an interested party who wants to give back.

Many practical needs have been met in communities all over the nation because an individual’s impact was so tremendous that it compelled others to memorialize the person in such a way that enables his or her impact to continue to be felt in a fresh way.

We hope that the committee will avoid creating limitations that close the door on such opportunities.