November 15, 2005


When classes are out, religious clubs increasingly are in (James Vaznis, November 15, 2005, Boston Globe)

The rabbi walks through the halls of Newton South High School, wearing a yarmulke and carrying stacks of pizza and donuts. Along the way, the 38-year-old rabbi with the reddish beard and an infectious smile asks students to join him at an afterschool meeting of the Jewish Student Union.

If a student hedges, Rabbi Shmuel Miller mentions the free food.

Miller is among a growing number of religious leaders around the nation who are taking advantage of a four-year-old US Supreme Court ruling that allows religious groups to meet in public schools when classes are not in session. In Massachusetts, the first Jewish Student Union club opened last year at Newton South; this year, chapters of the national nonprofit began in Brookline, Lexington, and Framingham. Evangelical Christians have been running clubs in the last few years in some Boston elementary schools and in some rural towns.

As some principals are banning Christmas trees, menorahs, or Halloween costumes, others are warming to the presence of religious clubs in their schools. They say the clubs' regular dose of religion is improving discipline among younger students and giving older students of minority religions a sense of camaraderie.

''I certainly welcome it," said Deborah Dancy, principal of William Ellery Channing Elementary School in Hyde Park, where Child Evangelism Fellowship opened a Good News Bible Club this year. ''The children who participate in the program are much more courteous, cooperative, and respectful. Anything we can do to reduce discipline problems and develop character we are willing to do at this school."

Maybe they can rumble with all those rotten Montessouri transfers.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 15, 2005 8:08 AM

True "Montessouri method" requires MORE self-discipline from students than does the socialist-Pavlovian method used in most of today's public schools.

If Montessouri transfers are causing problems, either they came from a lousy school that found that they could charge more by pretending to be Montessouri, or the transfer students were kicked out because they couldn't handle responsibility.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 16, 2005 1:39 AM


internal discipline doesn't work, which is why God imposed morality.

Posted by: oj at November 16, 2005 8:27 AM