Today I was appalled to learn that an organization called the Gideons has been purposely targeting our local children while they are leaving school for their buses. I am not sure if they were invited by school officials -- which would violate the Establishment Clause of our Constitution -- or if they were given a wink or a nod. But, they were outside of the school entrances of Trek North, Voyageurs, Bemidji High School and the Bemidji Middle School.

Parents were not informed of this. I am not sure what vetting process these people are given. In a school district with a high population of Indigenous students, this is too reminiscent of missionary work, colonization and the boarding school era.

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And, in a day and age where we have had Bemidji Middle School staff convicted of solicitation of minors, bomb threats to our schools, and 11-year-olds at bus stops being nearly abducted in broad daylight, I don't think allowing strangers such close access to our children without parental consent is smart or safe.

If there are no laws in place preventing groups access such as this to our children on or near school grounds and school buses, I am going to advocate that we create them.

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Otherwise, any group can and will have access to our kids to hand out materials after school and in front of the buses without parental knowledge or permission.

You may not be as accepting of those materials when they come from groups with which you don't agree or support.

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