Subject: Re: Milpitas, CA -- A Satan-Free Zone !!! Date: 12 Sep 90 18:23:35 GMT From San J

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From: (Mark Robert Thorson) Subject: Re: Milpitas, CA -- A Satan-Free Zone !!! Date: 12 Sep 90 18:23:35 GMT From San Jose Mercury-News, 9/12/90: ----------------------------------------------------------- TRUSTEES STAND BEHIND BAN ON FANTASY GAME by Rich Ramirez (Mercury News Staff Writer) Milpitas school trustees heard 90 minutes of testimony Teusday night on the benefits and dangers of a banned spelling game, then stuck to their guns by not putting "Wizards" back into the classroom. After hearing the game's foes describe it as a potential path to devil worship and its fans as a valuable teaching tool, trustees did ask Milpitas Unified Superintendent John K.H. MacKay to ask district lawyers if they violated the policy on challenged materials, as one board member charged. MacKay expects to report back to the board by its next meeting, Sept. 25. On the recommendation of a committee, the board banned the game -- in which students travel through a fantasy land featuring dragons, serpents, and wizards -- on July 31 after a family complained to the district. At Tuesday's meeting, trustee Althea Polanski asked her collegues to revoke the ban on the grounds that the board did not review a formal written complaint on "Wizards." Before the meeting, Polanski said that if the board acted illegally, it had left itself open to lawsuits. About 200 people attended the meeting at district offices on Calaveras Boulevard. Speakers who supported the game outnumbered opponents who spoke by almost 2-to-1. But applause for speakers on each side seemed to be evenly divided. Steve Pruner, who has four children in the district, said, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the things we're dealing with here are the occult." A few speakers later, parent Barbara Bara asked if someone could open the doors, "because I can still smell the stench of self-righteous religious indignation." Another opponent of the game, Norma McAlister, whose two sons graduated from Ayer High School, said, "I don't know how my kids learned without 'Wizards.' And they are great spellers." And Kay Hawkins said that she heard that disfunctional families could be affected by the game. "What teacher would want to risk that?" she asked. "What's the point if one child is hurt?" Ron Seymour, a parent of four teen-agers, applauded the board for banning the game. "I can't accept the fact that this is the only game that is available that teaches literacy," he said. "It's beyond my scope of comprehension that we need the occult to teach our teens." Mike Mendizabal told the audience that he is a Christian and believes in the Bible. But he added that he didn't see anything in the game that would lead children into devil worship. "If it does, then there's something else wrong at home." According to the student guide that accompanies the game, "Wizards" will help improve spelling, handwriting and language skills. Teacher Deborah Hullings estimated that 75 percent of her class at Weller School was achieving 100 percent scores on their spelling tests while she was using the game. Students travel through a fantasy land, collecting travel dots for spelling words correctly. Their goal is to reach the Enchanted Castle atop Treasure Mountain. But along the way, serpents, evil giants, gargoyles and dragons stand in their way. As students collect more travel dots, they progress through eight levels. Humans are the lowest level and most vunerable to monsters; wizards are the highest and have supreme powers. The game first came under fire in [a] letter from John and Stephanie Newbrough. Their son had played the game in Hullings' fourth- and fifth-grade class at Weller School. The Newbroughs called the game "religious indoctrination into Satanism." Superintendent MacKay formed a committee to examine the game after receiving the letter. The committee met twice in June and issued this one-sentence report: "While we abhor censorship, the committee member cannot support the use of 'Wizards' in its current form because of the terms and symbols used in it." The board accepted the recommendation of the committee at its July 31 meeting and banned the game. ----------------------------------------------------------- Yes, my friends, we got trouble! Trouble right here in Garden City! With a capital S that rhymes with F which stands for FOOL!


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