Dunkerton (Iowa) Junior High and High School students subjected to bad rap-metal, ridiculous Christian messages

This past Thursday, Dunkerton High School hosted the group Junkyard Prophet for an all school assembly.  Apparently the kids got a bit more out of the event than the administration expected.

Dunkerton high school assembly stirs protest by Dennis Magee the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Mar. 9, 2012

Administrators, teachers and students did not get what they expected Thursday during an extended school program.

Everyone anticipated the message from Junkyard Prophet, a traveling band based in Minnesota, to be about bullying and making good choices. Instead, junior and senior high students at Dunkerton High School and faculty members said they were assaulted by the group’s extreme opinions on homosexuality and images of aborted fetuses.

Okay.  The rest of the story is pretty crazy, and I will post highlights below.  But, first, what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks was the administration doing bringing in a group called Junkyard Prophet to begin with?  It takes just a modicum of reason mixed with an iota of common sense combined with a dash of understanding about the First Amendment to realize that inviting an overtly religious group with a lame name to your school is a bad idea.

During the breakout session, the young men learned the group’s thoughts on the U.S. Constitution and what one Prophet referred to as its “10 commandments.” The leader also showed images of musicians who died because of drug overdoses, including Elvis Presley.

Members of the group blasted other performers, like Toby Keith, for their improper influence.

The girls, meanwhile, were told to save themselves for their husbands and assume a submissive role in the household. According to witnesses, the leader in that effort also forced the young ladies to chant a manta of sorts about remaining pure.

Those who walked out or attempted to confront the speakers were shouted down or ridiculed as disrespectful, according to students.

Heidi Manahl, Littlefield’s sister, also had a student at the assembly. She, too, was appalled by Junkyard Prophet’s message and tactics.

“I’ve never had so many young women come up to me crying because of what was said to them. They were bullied by these people and forced to sit there and told to be quiet,” Manahl said.

My main question at this point is where the heck were the teachers?  Or the administrators?  Or any reasonable adults who could step in and protect these kids from this overtly offensive and misguided assembly?  Apparently they did realize that the presentation was beyond the pale, but allowed the group to continue and waited until the end of the school day to comment.

[Superintendent] Stanton spoke to the student body again at day’s end, emphasizing the positive aspects of the group’s message. But he also told students the presenters shared “an opinion about intolerance that’s not in line with the beliefs of the Dunkerton Community Schools.”

And what does Mr. Stanton have to say about inviting the group in the first place?

He noted Junkyard Prophet performed at the school years ago prior to his tenure. According to Stanton, staff members at the school at that time and officials from other districts had positive impressions of the group.

Again, in closing, I have to note that it shouldn’t be too hard for the administrators of a school district to realize that inviting a group with an overtly religious message is not a good idea.   What bothers and scares me is that if the group had kept to a less confrontational Christian message, no one likely would have complained and this would not be a news item.



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