An FCPS Board Member Has a Loose and Narrow Definition of Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusion

FCPS Board Member states that prayer during a public comment made him feel “uncomfortable” and asked the public to think about other ways to express themselves.
By now most people have heard that in response to public comments at the June 7 Board of Education meeting, board member David Bass asked members of the public to “think about ways to make your point without public prayer” and that he found prayer in a “public school setting” made him “uncomfortable.” This is not the first time Mr. Bass expressed his discomfort with prayer: earlier this year Mr. Bass left a public BOE meeting when someone started a prayer during their public comments.

On the morning of June 8 we sent a request to Mr. Bass and copied Superintendent Dyson and board President Johnson asking Mr.  Bass to clarify his comments and explain the message and have not yet received a response.
We will post it if we get one. 

Quite frankly we think this is a significantly inappropriate comment and it requires an explanation. If you agree  please send a request to Superintendent Dyson and board President Johnson asking for an explanation of why a board member would ask members of the public to set aside their first amendment rights. 

[email protected]

Our request made June 8:

We’re looking for an explanation and perhaps some clarity on a point you made last night in the BOE meeting.
You made the comment that you found the “references to prayer” and religious scripture  in “this public room” made you feel uncomfortable. You didn’t explain your reasons for feeling uncomfortable, which left those in the room wondering why you made the comment. Can you please provide an explanation of why this makes you feel uncomfortable and why you made the comment, and (what message were you conveying to the public)? Most people realize that a board cannot schedule or invoke a prayer but there is no such restriction on the public, so it cannot be based on any concern for compliance or any legal risk.

Thank you,
Transparency in Education