Monday night’s Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation’s board meeting was the final meeting for long time board members Rod Eaton, who has served on the board since 1998, and Mark Wise, who has served since 1994. Board member Bryan Murphy began the meeting with a few remarks about his time working with both men, and stated, “When I was elected to the board I knew Rod and Mark, knew who they were and what they looked like, but now I consider them good friends of mine. I have known them ever since I started on the board and know they would do anything for me as I would for them. I am proud to call them friends.”
TVHS students Katie Gunter and Austin Nickerson gave a brief report on their recent trip to the West Point/Indianapolis Leadership conference where they learned from teachers and students from elsewhere in Indiana how to handle various moral and ethical dilemmas among their peers.
TVHS U.S. Presidential Scholar nominee Raymond Jarvis addressed those in attendance and thanked all of those within the school system who have assisted him along the way. Jarvis explained that he works half of his school hours in the school’s tech department, assisting with maintenance of various electronic devices. The second half of the day he attends challenging classes before going to work at his after school job at Menards. He is in the process of applying to Indiana Tech, his top choice school.
Mentone Elementary employee Nikki Rutherford was also recognized as the TVSC Pillar Award recipient. The award goes to a member of the school corporation staff who works hard but does not always get the credit deserved.
When it came time for items from visitors, TVHS freshman Dawson Honeycutt stepped forward and stated his concern with the religious content of some of the school’s textbooks. On the textbook’s wording in its chapter on Islam, Honeycutt stated, “It presents it as fact, it doesnt say ‘they believe,’ It presents Islam as a fact like 2+2.” Board member Dave O’Brien asked Honeycutt if he felt that the book promoted the Islamic religion, to which the student responded that he did.
Community member Lance Bailey chimed in to agree with Honeycutt, asking the board members, “Where do we draw the line? Where do we put our foot down as a community and say we don’t want to teach our children this?” Both Honeycutt and Bailey stated that though Christianity was mentioned in the textbook, they felt as though it was merely mentioned in passing and not expanded upon to the same degree as the other faiths. There was a point made that the books in the seventh grade curriculum were similar in their content. TVHS freshman Jerry Hendrix stated, “I have been through the seventh grade class and have read the freshman books, and it goes in depth in Judaism, Hinduism and Islam, and then when it gets into Christianity it kind of brushes right past it.” In regards to the different religions covered in the textbooks, TVMS Principal Scott Baskus responded, “It has been a state standard since I started teaching. We are not advocating for any student to become any religion, it is an overall survey of world religions.” Board member Rod Eaton added that sometimes such matters are not up to the school board. The students were encouraged to seek further conversation with Superintendent Brett Boggs and members of the TVHS administrative staff.
The board also voted to create a “Rainy Day Fund” in which they will put any leftover funds after taking care of all expenses. The fund may be used for a future project or program.
The meeting closed with Boggs giving Eaton and Wise plaques to commemorate their service, stating of both men “Never did I once doubt that you didn’t have the schools’ best interest in mind.”