Government

East Hanover Board of Education Rejects Motion to Remove “One Nation Under God” Flags

0376ae56fd090a30969b_mini_magick20170508-27693-ohixhs.jpg
0376ae56fd090a30969b_mini_magick20170508-27693-ohixhs.jpg

EAST HANOVER, NJ- The East Hanover Board of Education decided against removing the “One Nation Under God” flags from East Hanover Middle School and the Frank J. Smith Elementary School.

The flags, a gift from the Knights of Columbus, were donated to the district over a decade ago and have hung at the schools since that time. The Board of Education was asked by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to remove the flags and were threatened with litigation forcing their removal. The non-profit group is openly dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of separation of church and state and to “educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.”

Originally, and on recommendation of the East Hanover Board of Education’s legal counsel, a motion was placed onto the agenda to approve the removal of the flags from both schools. This changed when the board voted, by a near unanimous decision, to disapprove this removal.

Sign Up for E-News

The board was confronted by East Hanover’s Land Use Planning Board Chairman, William Salemme and Town Councilman, Brian Brokaw, when discussion opened up to the public on the issue.

“I would like you to consider keeping it up until some formal action is taken,” Salemme said. “I don’t think we should bend to someone just complaining about it or threatening a lawsuit…I just think we’re going a little crazy here with the political correctness and there is nothing wrong with that flag being flown at the school.”

“The Knights of Columbus helps sponsor the Easter Egg Hunt at Lurker Park. Everybody partakes of that; every religion and every non religion,” Brokaw added. “I think it’s a slap in the face to the Knights, having to take that (the flag) down.”

The points were deliberated by the board, with opinions on both sides of the issue. While it is true that every attempt to strike “one nation under god” from the Pledge of Allegiance has been shot down by the courts, the display of this line, as in the case of the flag, has been ruled as a support of a religion.

“It’s the display,” said East Hanover’s Counsel. “The United States Supreme Court cases speak to the display of anything that could convey the message of support or endorsement of any religious aspect.”

However this legal point of view was not the deciding factor in this case. While the board may have a change of heart in the face of legal action that would drain taxpayer dollars, for the time being they are happy to let the banners wave.

“I am fine with waiting,” said Board Member, Joe Troise. “I don’t like the fact that you talk about being bullied, because that’s what I think someone is doing. I think if they took a vote in this town to keep that up, that flag would stay up. I am totally against it (taking down the flag), but I do not want the tax payers to bear the burden of fighting it.”

This sentiment was echoed by the majority of the board. The lone voice of opposition came from Board President, Sean Sullivan. In the face of overwhelming opposition, Sullivan stuck by his decision from when the flags where first raised.

“I voted against raising the flag 13 years ago,” Sullivan said. “To me it is a symbol of religion. We don’t make all of the rules. We have to follow the constitution. We have to follow federal law. Is it possible that there are individual members of the community who find it offensive? Does that person lose their right to not be offended? It’s not always the majority rules.”

The board additionally has been thinking of ways to work around this problem. It was mentioned several times that there was a possibility of putting the entire Pledge of Allegiance on the flag. This has surely been a hot button issue throughout the town and will be a situation to keep your eye on as developments unfold.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Important Message for Florham Park Residents Regarding the Fourth of July

Important July 4th Celebration Reminder - Please be advised in the interest of safety and security, the entire parade route will be CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC beginning at 8:30am on July 4, 2018. This will impact residents who live along the parade route and all of the side streets that connect to the parade route. (Please see the map attached to this post)

Please ensure that you plan accordingly ...

First Summer Weekend Entertainment Lineup for Long Beach Island and Stafford Entertainment Lineup

June 23, 2018

LONG BEACH ISLAND – Here we are, it is the first "official" summer weekend.  This is this rundown on this weekend's entertainment lineup for Stafford and Long Beach.

Remember to be safe and use Uber or Lyft while out in the evenings.

 

Arlington, 1302 Long Beach Boulevard, Ship Bottom   

Matt Fisher, Friday 8 p.m.
Greg Warren, Sunday 6 ...

DevCo is building a new version of Rutgers "The Yard." You may be surprised to see where.

NEW BRUNSWICK - In 2016, Rutgers University proudly opened “The Yard,” a student housing and retail complex along College Avenue built under the direction of the New Brunswick Development Corp.

Now the corporation, the non-profit development arm for the City of New Brunswick and commonly known as DevCo, is replicating the housing and commercial construction more than two hours ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Mountain Lakes

Art at the Esplanade

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

The End of Jets Mini-Camp

After a week of crystal clear cerulean skies over 1 Jets Drive, the New York Jets just wrapped up their mandatory full squad mini-camp.

New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles held press conferences after practices last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Jets fans have lots of questions at this time of year on what to expect from their team this fall. The press questions covered a wide ...

1896 Miles Away But Hanover Park Stands with Sante Fe

June 16, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- After the awful events at Santa Fe High School last month, students at Hanover Park organized support. Under the supervision of Kim Lurz, and staff assistance, the students created a banner and put together giftbags for the victims of the attack. Recently students from Santa Fe High were featured on the  TODAY show and brought along the banner. 

Hornets ...

Obituaries

Beverly Jean (Charlton) Weimar, of Ship Bottom, and Florham Park, New Jersey passed away on March ...
Read more

Free Class at CylcleBar Livingston to Support Sustainability

June 23, 2018

Join us at CycleBar Livingston for Uplift Humanity's 1st Charity Event! In addition to getting your sweat on for FREE, you can learn about about how we are using a sustainability first approach to solve poverty in developing countries around the world. Meet our Board and Founder and get information on volunteer opportunities!

We've partnered with ...