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Not much of a challenge really, but if you just looked at the headlines you’d have an easy 50 / 50 shot at being wrong.
Henryetta abolishes decades-old dance ban
HENRYETTA, Okla. — Kick off the Sunday shoes: Dancing in public is now legal throughout Henryetta.
City leaders voted Tuesday to abolish an ordinance on dancing, the Tulsa World reported. The dance ordinance, with a penalty of $25, prohibited dance halls within 500 feet of a church or public school.
In February, resident Joni Insabella decided to host a dance above her store, which is within 500 feet of a church. The city’s Chamber of Commerce posted about the event and called Insabella a rule breaker on Facebook and accused her of getting special treatment, because of her husband, who’s the city’s attorney.
“We wanted just a good, clean, fun event. As I said, we know we’re in the Bible Belt. We weren’t having alcohol or anything. We just wanted it to be fun for the community,” Insabella said.
After the event was canceled, Mayor Jennifer Clason decided to look over the ordinance.
Clason, the city’s first female mayor, said when the dance ban resurfaced it received national attention for its similarity to the 1980s film “Footloose,” which tells the story of a small town banning dancing and rock music. She said prior to the cancelled event, she’d never heard of the ordinance preventing dancing.
Previously, dances were held at the city’s churches and schools without repercussions, said Clason.
WILLOW’S PEAK, ALABAMA — The Nathan Bedford Forrest Middle School in a small Alabama town has officially petitioned the Department of Education under Betsy DeVos to be allowed to practice what they are calling “alternative integration.”
In a letter to the DOE, Hobart County Superintendent Jeff Davis asked that his schools be given permission to separate out students of color from white students. Davis argued this policy “makes sense in the Trump era” and it allows for schools to “return to God’s natural order for things.” The letter proposed that Hobart county be given six million dollars in federal block grants to build out “separate but equal” schools for children of color.
“Secretary DeVos,” the letter begins, “I write to you on behalf of the Nathan Bedford Forrest Middle School here in Willow’s Peak, Alabama. However, our proposal and request would cover our entire district, all 345 students strong. We’d like to ask, Secretary DeVos, for permission to build separate but equal schools for our students of color, so that they may feel a better part of their own community and stay with their own kind, so to speak. We’d call this new initiative ‘alternative integration,’ and we think the Trump administration will really like where we’re headed with it.”
In his letter, Davis says that there are “traditional arguments” that can and should be made in regards to “just how much you want the races inter-mingling.” Among those arguments, Davis said, is that it’s “highly dangerous” for humankind to think they can “outsmart the Lord Thy God who created the races separate.”
“Also,” the letter states, “it should be noted that nowhere in the Constitution will you find it instructed that children of mixed races attend school together. Additionally, we believe this is a state’s right issue, one that should be left to a local decision, based on local customs and traditions, whatever they may be.”
Davis also argued that even though great strides had been made to equalize the education of minorities and white children, that the effects of poverty and even slavery were still being felt so much that the children of color “just might not be ready for the beauty, splendor, and superiority of white schools.” Mr. Davis’ letter also states emphatically that this move should not be seen as a “black versus white thing” by the press or the American people.
“This ain’t like keeping blacks from whites,” the letter claims, “because we’re gonna keep all the colors from the whites, not just the blacks, duh.”
As the letter concludes, Davis makes a simple argument in favor of his proposal, and it relies on DeVos’ rhetoric and outlook on education in general.
“Secretary DeVos has said she supports school choice,” Davis writes, “and nothing is a choice like choosing which color skin you’ll teach.”
The Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment.