DUNKERTON --- 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.

"They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren't virgins," said Jennifer Littlefield, a parent upset with the band's performance.

Her daughter, Alivia Littlefield, 16, is a junior, and called Littlefield after the event.

"I couldn't even understand her, she was crying so hard," Littlefield said.

Littlefield also did not appreciate what she described as gay bashing.

"They told these kids that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42," she said. "It just blows me away that no one stopped this."

The assembly began with music, which some students apparently liked well enough.

Overall, Superintendent Jim Stanton said, the group offered "a very strong anti-violence, anti-drug, anti-alcohol" message.

The band's lyrics offer evidence of some of their religious beliefs, though, like this passage from "Junkyard Rock."

"People be freakin' when we speakin' cuz we burnin it up,

The life you livin', when you sinnin' cuz we tearin it up,

With the word that hot,

From the School of Hard Knocks gonna break the rocks,

We ain't stoppin', the convictions poppin'

Junkyard in the house and the Holy Ghost droppin'."

"The kids were rocking out," Stanton said.

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.

However, Stanton said, the group apparently changed and misrepresented its total message going into Thursday's appearance.

After performing, the group separated boys, girls and teachers in the building.

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.

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."

"We promote tolerance for one another," Stanton said. "We will continue to celebrate diversity in our student body."

Littlefield said she appreciates that the administration has accepted responsibility for the assembly, which clearly went awry.

"But the damage has been done. You let these people stay in the school for three hours," she added.

Manahl is concerned about what comes next. She hopes administrators and teachers reach out to "students who don't fit in."

"There are students in that school who are homosexual and they need to be protected," she said.

Littlefield isn't sure where officials go from here. But she is certain some repair work is in order.

"Something definitely has to be done to make the situation better," she said.

The district is trying to recover the fee paid to Junkyard Prophet, Stanton said. According to other sources, the band typically receives $1,500 per performance.

Pat Kinney contributed to this story.

(29) comments

jd2004retiree

So is the administration or school board going to address questions in an open forum or are they going to try to sweep it "under the rug" and hope it goes away???
Administration and the school board have a moral obligation to all within the school district and whomever authorized this to happen should have to pay the pauper.
From what I read the administration failed all the students and are not doing their jobs properly by allowing this to happen.
There obviously was a payment made for this JUNK to happen and according to their website the fees vary. Whatever it was there is no room in any schools bubget for this garbage.
SHAME on you Dunkerton Administration for allowing this to happen!!!!!

IowanAtheist

Wow -- that is so inappropriate, I don't even know where to begin. Why did the staff not step in and silence these people when they crossed the line in the assembly? Were the teachers all out to lunch? The second the group started breaking the law, someone should have got them back on track.

IowanAtheist

[quote]jd2004retiree said: "So is the administration or school board going to address questions in an open forum or are they going to try to sweep it "under the rug" and hope it goes away??? Administration and the school board have a moral obligation to all within the school district and whomever authorized this to happen should have to pay the pauper. From what I read the administration failed all the students and are not doing their jobs properly by allowing this to happen. There obviously was a payment made for this JUNK to happen and according to their website the fees vary. Whatever it was there is no room in any schools bubget for this garbage.SHAME on you Dunkerton Administration for allowing this to happen!!!!!"[/quote]

I can buy that the Administration was foolish enough to not notice the band's name -- and hire them anyway -- it gets me that they didn't put a stop to it, though.

Manning

This story is kind of unbalanced. The KWWL story at least interviewed one girl who didn't have a problem with what happened. I'm sure there were others who felt the same way. I can't believe all the students were universally offended, but with all the furor and rage over this, it is unlikely that the students who didn't have a problem with the message would be bold enough to publicly state that. I would be surprised if it went down the way it is reported here. If it was as bad as reported, then it was not right. Of course, saying anything that offends someone or causes someone to feel bad about their lifestyle is the biggest sin in our society today, so I suppose it's possible that just speaking truth to these students could have caused the type of responses described.

peace12

Dunkerton School had a responsiblity to protect our children, and they failed. If only 10% of what was reported happened, shame on the administration. These are kids. This group has had police escort them out of schools. Shouldn't we teach our children not to be hateful, judge, or make others feel bad. This school has lots of work ahead of them. I don't know who could think that this was okay. I want my children to grow up with the morals of compassion, love, understanding, nonjudging. The school taught our kids it is okay to put others down. This is not okay. I don't care if only 10% happened that was reproted. IT NEEDED TO BE STOPPED, and it wasn't. We have laws to protect due to race, religion, sexual orentation, sex. The school did not du their job. To all the kids that weren't scared to say this was wrong.....GOOD FOR YOU. You will go places that are buch bigger than the administration. Good for you!

Manning

[quote]peace12 said: "Dunkerton School had a responsiblity to protect our children, and they failed. If only 10% of what was reported happened, shame on the administration. These are kids. This group has had police escort them out of schools. Shouldn't we teach our children not to be hateful, judge, or make others feel bad. This school has lots of work ahead of them. I don't know who could think that this was okay. I want my children to grow up with the morals of compassion, love, understanding, nonjudging. The school taught our kids it is okay to put others down. This is not okay. I don't care if only 10% happened that was reproted. IT NEEDED TO BE STOPPED, and it wasn't. We have laws to protect due to race, religion, sexual orentation, sex. The school did not du their job. To all the kids that weren't scared to say this was wrong.....GOOD FOR YOU. You will go places that are buch bigger than the administration. Good for you! "[/quote]

What you may not be aware of is that in many schools Christian students are exposed daily to the promotion of homosexuality, but are not allowed to express their biblical beliefs. Schools tell these students that their beliefs are wrong and they are wrong to express them (or even think them).

Are you really saying that no behavior or lifestyle should be judged as wrong?

azne69

Is this so called band anyway associated with the Westboro Baptist Church out of Wichita KS. I can't believe it wasn't stopped or everyone didn't walk out of the building after the first vile song.

cf1981

truthseeker, you may not be aware that public schools are for the pursuit of academics, and NOT to promote biblical beliefs or religious superstitions. that is what a church is for.

xrdh

i would say that whoever was in charge of hiring this group did not do their homework. Their website clearly depicts what kind of "program" they perform. They are even making a documentary which shows them getting kicked out of schools. Someone clearly didn't do their homework. Even their name has religious connotations. What happened to separation of church and state?!

badtoe

Obviously a lesson learned the hard way for the school administrators. Next time they will review any presentation thoroughly before having it presented to the students. On a scary note, the administrators stated they had received input from other schools that had previously hosted the presentation and nothing was mentioned of the controversial material by the other schools? I wonder of the parents or communities of those other schools even know of the message that was presented? Some feedback should certainly be sent to them also.

Marion Weyhrauch

The public is entitled to be unhappy about what occurred. It was not right. I do wish people would be equally unhappy whenever administrators and teachers push their beliefs, whatever they may be, on students without giving voice to other perspectives on an issue.

Based on other articles I've read about this incident, the administration of the Dunkerton Schools has quickly taken responsibility, apologized, learned from and taken steps to remedy their error. I respect that.

Dunkerton School Tax Payer

As I am sitting here adding up my slips to pay property taxes to see HOW MUCH Dunkerton School gets, it really irratates me the kind of administration and teachers that Dunkerton has and DID NOT stop the assembly!! How is that the teachers could get up and walk out but the students were held in their against their will?? So how is Mr. Statton going to cover this up? Is he just going to tell the parents if they don't like it move out of the school district like he told me to do with my grand daughter last year???? One good thing about it is she goes to Jesup and what a BIG huge improvement i've seen in her education. I use to think Dunkerton was a good school but Jesup is so much better. P.S. and people just tell me to shut up and pay your taxes. All I want to know is why didn't anyone stop them, they did nothing until the parents showed up at the end??

Veritas

This band has caused the exact problems in Iowa that have been reported by the newspapers and available online since at least 2004. Why didn't anybody do the research and protest prior to a payment being made? A volunteer at a school bake sale goes through a more stringent background check than anyone, teacher, couselor, or administrator did for this group.

avee

"Those who walked out or attempted to confront the speakers were shouted down or ridiculed as disrespectful, according to students."------------------It appears to me that there were lots of kids that were not offended by the message and they were probably the ones responsible for some of the kids feeling assulted! Again a small minority makes a big to-do about nothing. Now, we are going to have to send all the teachers and administraters to some sort of sensitivity training so they can "silence" the speach they don't think is appropriate. It also sounds like there were a couple teachers (products of or left wing liberal education system)that were more offended than anyone else.

Mobo56

There will be a meeting held on Tuesday at 6 in the school auditorium for anyone wanting to show their outrage in what has happened.

IowanAtheist

[quote]TruthSeeker said: "This story is kind of unbalanced. The KWWL story at least interviewed one girl who didn't have a problem with what happened. I'm sure there were others who felt the same way. I can't believe all the students were universally offended, but with all the furor and rage over this, it is unlikely that the students who didn't have a problem with the message would be bold enough to publicly state that. I would be surprised if it went down the way it is reported here. If it was as bad as reported, then it was not right. Of course, saying anything that offends someone or causes someone to feel bad about their lifestyle is the biggest sin in our society today, so I suppose it's possible that just speaking truth to these students could have caused the type of responses described."[/quote]

What relevance does this have to anything? The constitution is not about *offending* someone. So what if some people agreed with the message? It still was inappropriate and unconstitutional.

IowanAtheist

[quote]TruthSeeker said: "What you may not be aware of is that in many schools Christian students are exposed daily to the promotion of homosexuality, but are not allowed to express their biblical beliefs. Schools tell these students that their beliefs are wrong and they are wrong to express them (or even think them). Are you really saying that no behavior or lifestyle should be judged as wrong?"[/quote]

So what if they are exposed to the *non-religious* stance that their is nothing wrong with homosexuality? That is not unconstitutional, since acceptance of other people's lifestyles is not a religion -- homophobia based on christian doctrine is. See why one is allowed, and one is not yet?

IowanAtheist

[quote]avee said: ""Those who walked out or attempted to confront the speakers were shouted down or ridiculed as disrespectful, according to students."------------------It appears to me that there were lots of kids that were not offended by the message and they were probably the ones responsible for some of the kids feeling assulted! Again a small minority makes a big to-do about nothing. Now, we are going to have to send all the teachers and administraters to some sort of sensitivity training so they can "silence" the speach they don't think is appropriate. It also sounds like there were a couple teachers (products of or left wing liberal education system)that were more offended than anyone else."[/quote]

Contrary to your opinion, most people in this country do not consider the constitution 'nothing'.

avee

How about getting back to teaching the kids how to read, write, do mathmatics and learn something about our country so they can become usefull, productive citizens when they grow up. This whole thing was nothing compared to what the parents let them watch on TV. Most of the parents probably don't even know or care what they are watching.

DunkMom

The teachers have support from the community and they need to let the board know what happened that day! Staff should go to the meeting on Tues. and tell them exactly how this "assembly" really went down.
Hopefully, we will be allowed to speak at this meeting and not silenced like most board meetings....questions need to be answered. If there is nothing to hide why wouldn't you want to answer community questions?

Manning

[quote]cf1981 said: "truthseeker, you may not be aware that public schools are for the pursuit of academics, and NOT to promote biblical beliefs or religious superstitions. that is what a church is for."[/quote]

And they aren't for the promotion of a social agenda either, but that is what is happening.

Manning

[quote]IowanAtheist said: "So what if they are exposed to the *non-religious* stance that their is nothing wrong with homosexuality? That is not unconstitutional, since acceptance of other people's lifestyles is not a religion -- homophobia based on christian doctrine is. See why one is allowed, and one is not yet?"[/quote]

No, I don't. If you don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle it shouldn't matter why you don't agree with it--whether it is because of your religious beliefs, or whether it is based on medical science which says it is a high-risk lifestyle. And what about people who say they are Christians but they don't have a problem with homosexuality? Are you going to say their comments aren't allowed because they are based on religious beliefs? And by the way, being an atheist doesn't exempt you from the so-called "separation of church and state". Your worldview is based on your theological beliefs. So the fact that you have no problem with homosexuality is based on your religious beliefs just as much as someone who thinks it is a sin that shouldn't be promoted in the public schools.

IowanAtheist

[quote]TruthSeeker said: "No, I don't. If you don't agree with the homosexual lifestyle it shouldn't matter why you don't agree with it--whether it is because of your religious beliefs, or whether it is based on medical science which says it is a high-risk lifestyle. And what about people who say they are Christians but they don't have a problem with homosexuality? Are you going to say their comments aren't allowed because they are based on religious beliefs? And by the way, being an atheist doesn't exempt you from the so-called "separation of church and state". Your worldview is based on your theological beliefs. So the fact that you have no problem with homosexuality is based on your religious beliefs just as much as someone who thinks it is a sin that shouldn't be promoted in the public schools."[/quote]

The thing is -- the medical reasons against homosexuality *are* allowed to be discussed, and *are* discussed. It's only when you cross into theological reasons that you have issues. As for my 'worldview' being theological, and should not be taught in school -- you are right. Any portion of my worldview based on religion should be, and *is* against the constitution to teach in schools. That's why they have to stick to the science and logical parts of my worldview to be constitutional. Luckily for me, and all the people like me, we don't rely on non-scientific justifications for what we believe.

Manning

[quote]IowanAtheist said: "The thing is -- the medical reasons against homosexuality *are* allowed to be discussed, and *are* discussed. It's only when you cross into theological reasons that you have issues. As for my 'worldview' being theological, and should not be taught in school -- you are right. Any portion of my worldview based on religion should be, and *is* against the constitution to teach in schools. That's why they have to stick to the science and logical parts of my worldview to be constitutional. Luckily for me, and all the people like me, we don't rely on non-scientific justifications for what we believe."[/quote]

I disagree. First of all, you can't even discuss the homosexuality from a medical perspective. You should see the reaction when people quote statistics from the CDC concerning the lifestyle. It doesn't matter that it is science and the truth. It doesn't mesh with their agenda. That is why the APA, in 1973, removed homosexuality as a "mental disorder". It wasn't based on any new scientific discoveries or research, but because of threats and bullying by homosexual activists.

Which science are you talking about? The science where scientists are continually changing their opinions, theories, and hypotheses? The science that gave us "facts" and "laws" that we now laugh at because we now know the truth? Compare that to the word of God, which has remain unchanged and yet has never been disproven on any topic on which it speaks. Christians are not anti-science, but some scientists are anti-Christian. Many of the early scientists of note were Christians.

And besides, science can't answer every question. Some questions require moral answers rather than scientific ones.

IowanAtheist

[quote]TruthSeeker said: "I disagree. First of all, you can't even discuss the homosexuality from a medical perspective. You should see the reaction when people quote statistics from the CDC concerning the lifestyle. It doesn't matter that it is science and the truth. It doesn't mesh with their agenda. That is why the APA, in 1973, removed homosexuality as a "mental disorder". It wasn't based on any new scientific discoveries or research, but because of threats and bullying by homosexual activists.Which science are you talking about? The science where scientists are continually changing their opinions, theories, and hypotheses? The science that gave us "facts" and "laws" that we now laugh at because we now know the truth? Compare that to the word of God, which has remain unchanged and yet has never been disproven on any topic on which it speaks. Christians are not anti-science, but some scientists are anti-Christian. Many of the early scientists of note were Christians.And besides, science can't answer every question. Some questions require moral answers rather than scientific ones."[/quote]


Funny. I recall health class discussing these topics you claim are forbidden.

As for science changing, and religion not -- that's not a matter to be proud of. Science changes as our understanding of the universe grows. As we better understand what is happening around us, our theories change to better fit the facts. How is that a bad thing? How can you be proud that the word of your god has not changed since some illiterate shepherds 2000+ years ago made it up? According to your god, women are not allowed to teach, or have power over men, it's ok to own slaves, the world is flat, and the sun revolves around it. Your religion, and the word of your god is outdated -- but that does not matter, because your religion is also not allowed to be forced upon students in a public school. Anything scientific you disagree with, you can combat in schools -- but only with other science. Leave the religion at home.

NYC55

Sue the school district for violating your children's First Amendment rights.

Public schools forcing children to listen to some "Christian" rock band is already a tort, before the band even gets to preaching Jesus' special message of hate.

Make 'em pay for it. Class-action suit for 1-2% of the state's education budget.

northiowan
northiowan

[quote]NYC55 said: "Sue the school district for violating your children's First Amendment rights.Public schools forcing children to listen to some "Christian" rock band is already a tort, before the band even gets to preaching Jesus' special message of hate.Make 'em pay for it. Class-action suit for 1-2% of the state's education budget."[/quote]

Yeah, that's a wonderful idea. Take money away from the already struggling, underfunded public schools and further reduce the quality of your child's education because you're pissed off that a couple of people made a mistake. That'll show 'em.

I agree that the incident was a really stupid, embarrassing oversight, and would be very upset if my children had been there, but an expensive lawsuit is not a reasonable response. I hope the parents of these students come up with better responses.

That being said, I've seen this group in a very different setting, and it's pretty hard for me to understand how the administration could have expected anything other than what happened. They may appear cool and edgy, but their message doesn't belong anywhere near a public high school.

I Scream In The Sun
I Scream In The Sun

I just don't understand how basically no background check was conducted on this group before their members were allowed to take students into classrooms without teachers overseeing things. Even just typing "junkyard prophet you can run but you cannot hide" into Google results in the first page of results showing several which clearly talk about the controversies of this group, and its history of doing exactly this sort of bait-and-switch routine to end up pushing their anti-gay anti-abortion rhetoric onto students. I'm just saying... one Google search would have been enough to raise these red flags. Maybe if they would have announced this group was coming earlier, it would have increased the odds that somebody might have google'd the name and had a chance to warn them to cancel this group. But apparently there was no background check like that. It makes you wonder what other groups they might have let in the door to teach the kids in classrooms without any school personnel present? It could just as easily have been NAMBLA. All it takes is a google search, but apparently the safety of children wasn't worth the time to do that.

Kernel
Kernel

TruthSeeker, as IowanAtheist pointd out, the benefit of science is that it is open to new ideas, that it changes as our understanding does. The idea that your religion doesn't change isn't a mark in its favor, even though it HAS changed to keep up with societal norms over the centuries so it doesn't fall too heavily out of favor. It morphs and changes with the times to keep one foot in the mainstream, as ideas, much like florae and faunae, must constantly evolve in order to stay relevant.

Regarding the "prove me wrong" argument, I could say the same about leprechauns, unicorns, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Either the onus is on you to prove that your belief is right, or you admit that these other things could certainly exist, because you are unable to disprove their existence.

Personally, a world inhabited by the creatures of old world mythology sounds very fascinating indeed. Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" sure make it seem interesting.

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