DUNKERTON, Iowa --- A group invited into Dunkerton High School to bolster tolerance instead drove wedges between classmates, according to students.

Now, leaders of Junkyard Prophet --- a hard-rocking band and part of the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Ministry --- claim they will schedule a return visit this week.

They want to defend their message, which they claim has been misrepresented since Thursday's school assembly.

Bradlee Dean, founder and executive director of the controversial ministry, said Friday the group intends to send a representative to Dunkerton this week. That person will show images taken during the recent performance.

"All of it's on film. That's what the people of Dunkerton are going to be presented with sooner or later," Dean said.

A place and time has not been announced. Jake McMillian, the organization's chief operations officer, said Saturday the group is having difficulty finding a site.

"That town is extremely small. The main venue, I guess the only venue, is booked up," he said.

That would be the Dunkerton Community Hall. Its board of directors voted Friday to not allow McMillian's group access. And the school won't either, according to Superintendent Jim Stanton.

"It won't be here," he said.

The group was supposed to offer an assembly Thursday focused on anti-violence, anti-drug, anti-bullying themes. At least that's what administrators and teachers said they expected.

"That's the message we wanted delivered," Stanton said.

But after dividing the junior and senior high student body into boys and girls --- and leading faculty members away in a third direction --- the group launched a different agenda, according to witnesses.

"They were really trying to push their religion down our throats," said Laura Steffen, 18, a senior.

The presentations included images of aborted fetuses and AIDS patients suffering the effects of the disease, according to students. Those who tried to leave, including teachers, were shouted down, mocked and intimidated, according to witnesses.

Steve Phelan, an English teacher, said the leader in his group chastised the faculty for being disrespectful.

"Then he probably spent five or 10 minutes shouting at us about what we should believe," Phelan said.

Four members of the faculty walked out. Phelan did not.

"I was upset, but I stayed to fight," he said.

Phelan, a veteran of the Vietnam War, found much in the breakout session objectionable. One theme in particular rubbed him the wrong way.

"I thought they were using patriotism to push their other ideas, and I did not appreciate that as a veteran," Phelan said.

Reaction in the community began before the presentation ended Thursday morning. Students sent texts and called their parents. Some pulled their children from school for the remainder of the day.

Brandi and Randi Smith, twin sisters and seniors, noticed at least a few students were absent Friday as well. The mood, they said, also was uncomfortable at times.

"The whole school's like way tense. No one's getting along any more," Brandi, 18, said.

A student circulated a petition Thursday asking administrators to ban such presentations in the future --- specifically Junkyard Prophet. A similar effort developed Friday, but that document, also passed among the student body, reportedly wanted the school's gay community to quit complaining.

Brandi and Randi Smith describe themselves as "very Christian" and said they agree with some of Junkyard Prophet's message. They did not, however, like the venue.

"I don't think that kind of message should have been given in a school," Randi said.

The girls do not blame administrators for inviting Junkyard Prophet.

"I feel like the school shouldn't be blamed," Brandi said. "It's the group's fault for false representing themselves."

Dean defended the group's message, which he said has remained unchanged over the years.

He blamed opponents promoting a "homosexual agenda" with distorting his organization's views.

Stanton said the district will ask for its money back, between $1,500 and $2,000.

The right thing

School administrators and teachers who saw the group years ago say they witnessed a different --- and less emotionally charged --- performance. Some even wrote testimonials that remain on the ministry's website despite endorsing a product Junkyard Prophet is apparently no longer selling.

Dave Roby, a native of Sumner, is high school principal in the Twin Cedars School District in Bussey, a community southeast of Des Moines.

Roby saw a You Can Run But You Cannot Hide production eight to 10 years ago and specifically remembers its front man, Bradlee Dean.

"The whole message that they were doing ... here was, 'Try to do the right thing,'" Roby said.

"I told them before this all took place, 'This is a school situation. You can only go so far with certain things,' and they seemed to understand," he added.

Twin Cedars students and faculty were pleased with the group's performance, Roby said.

He wrote them a recommendation.

But Roby said would not have allowed the group to show images of aborted fetuses

"I can guarantee they didn't do that," he said.

John Larson, a guidance counselor with the Mount Ayr School District, reports a similar experience. He saw the group six or seven years ago. A colleague's testimonial, written by Darrel Bartling, who is no longer with the district, remains on the organization's website.

"I don't think we were shocked by anything that was said or that really caught us off guard," Larson said.

Dean on Friday defended using dated endorsements on the group's website.

"They wrote them, didn't they?" he said.

Closing ranks

Dunkerton residents Saturday were organizing opposition to Junkyard Prophet's proposed return.

Bev Smock, treasurer of the community hall's board of directors, fielded McMillian's multiple requests to rent the facility on Main Street. She described McMillian, who also goes by Jacob MacAulay, as polite but persistent.

"Most of the board members have kids up at the school, and they were all quite upset," Smock said. "We voted to not let them use the hall."

According to Smock, McMillian apparently attempted to find a sympathetic Dunkerton resident to rent the hall. But the board of directors said that won't be allowed either.

McMillian on Saturday complained about the board's refusal.

"That sounds pretty dangerous to blackball a group, don't you think?" McMillian said.

Smock said she asked about the group's purpose in coming back. According to Smock, McMillian said the media has not portrayed his group's message or what went on in the school accurately, and Junkyard Prophet would like to set the record straight.

McMillian also asked Fire Chief D.J. Manahl for access to the city's fire department. He refused, saying Homeland Security concerns make that impossible.

One of Manahl's sons attended the group's performance, and the family complained to school officials. Manahl wants to block another appearance.

"I know that they've done enough damage in this town, and as a parent I feel like they are not welcome in this town," he said.

(29) comments

jd2004retiree
jd2004retiree

So.... I am wondering who or what gave them permission to film/record students in that school? Sounds to me they should just stay in Minnesota and leave well enough alone. They obviously do not understand what NO means????

Out-of-towner
Out-of-towner

Hasn't the School Board heard of GOOGLE???? I think I would have checked this group out BEFORE contracting with and handing over the $$'s for their performance.
I was made aware of this "group" last year (May 20, 2011) at the Minnesota House Floor Session.
If this group is what todays Christianity is about, I'm turning in my Bible...

responsibleparty
responsibleparty

An announcement at St. Francis at this morning's service: the group will be meeting at Wayde and Mary Russell's home in Dunkerton on Monday at 7pm.

avee
avee

"Those who tried to leave, including teachers, were shouted down, mocked and intimidated, according to witnesses." If you read the previous story there were a few who tried to leave and the shouting and mocking was done by the other students. It appears that a small group that was offended by OTHER STUDENTS wants this to get all the attention they can. This whole thing is just a crock. Move on and get back to teaching the kids how to read and do arithmetic.

DunkMom
DunkMom

This was NOT approved by the school board. In fact, this whole assembly was done "secretly". None of the teachers were even told who was coming. The superintendent said he did not want anyone to know. No parent notes, permission slips, etc. When students are now writing petitions to get rid of other students something needs to be done! LAWSUIT and TERMINATION

Manning
Manning

[quote]DunkMom said: "This was NOT approved by the school board. In fact, this whole assembly was done "secretly". None of the teachers were even told who was coming. The superintendent said he did not want anyone to know. No parent notes, permission slips, etc. When students are now writing petitions to get rid of other students something needs to be done! LAWSUIT and TERMINATION"[/quote]

Since when did the school board have to approve every assembly? There is a lot that students are exposed to in public schools that Christian parents would be opposed to and there aren't parent notes or permission slips for those either.

Manning
Manning

[quote]jd2004retiree said: "So.... I am wondering who or what gave them permission to film/record students in that school? Sounds to me they should just stay in Minnesota and leave well enough alone. They obviously do not understand what NO means????"[/quote]

Is that any different than students recording other students all the time and then posting it on YouTube? Or what about when the TV station comes in and records video for a news story? I'm sure people were aware if they were being recorded. What are you afraid of? No one will be forced to attend the meeting if they come back. I, for one, would be glad if they recorded the interactions between this group and the students and staff. The only reason I could think of why someone would oppose that would be if they don't want the truth to come out. I say let them come back so we can get to the bottom of this.

Kernel
Kernel

This whole thing stinks. A religious group should not be allowed to perform at a public institution like this, period.

avee
avee

Sure sounds like some don't want the other side of the story tols or shown. Let these people come in and show the complete video. I think a small group just want a big stink because someone dared to talk the truth for a change. Most people have been intimidated into silence when it comes to abortion and homosexuallity.

AreUkiddingME88
AreUkiddingME88

Good ol' Dunkerton Scandal. The people in this town are over-reactors. Goodness im glad I moved away, even thougg im related to half the town! MOVE ON!

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]avee said: ""Those who tried to leave, including teachers, were shouted down, mocked and intimidated, according to witnesses." If you read the previous story there were a few who tried to leave and the shouting and mocking was done by the other students. It appears that a small group that was offended by OTHER STUDENTS wants this to get all the attention they can. This whole thing is just a crock. Move on and get back to teaching the kids how to read and do arithmetic. "[/quote]

The other story says nothing about other students shouting them down, just that they were shouted down and mocked. It is more likely that the story was accurate, as written, and the religious whackjobs leading the assembly where the ones shouting down and mocking the students.

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]TruthSeeker said: "Since when did the school board have to approve every assembly? There is a lot that students are exposed to in public schools that Christian parents would be opposed to and there aren't parent notes or permission slips for those either."[/quote]

And that content was not illegal, unconstitutional, nor inappropriate for public schools. This was. Big difference. Just because christians parents might have a problem with science does not mean it violates the constitution, or should not be taught in public schools. If you have such a problem with education, home school, and teach your children whatever damaging, biased non-science you want. If you hate your children enough to omit every scientific concept or fact you disagree with based on your religion, well, that form of child abuse is still legal.

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]avee said: "Sure sounds like some don't want the other side of the story tols or shown. Let these people come in and show the complete video. I think a small group just want a big stink because someone dared to talk the truth for a change. Most people have been intimidated into silence when it comes to abortion and homosexuallity. "[/quote]

What truth? That a bunch of illiterate shepherds 2000+ years ago know more about homosexuality than modern science?

wujethro
wujethro

[quote]Out-of-towner said: "Hasn't the School Board heard of GOOGLE???? I think I would have checked this group out BEFORE contracting with and handing over the $$'s for their performance. I was made aware of this "group" last year (May 20, 2011) at the Minnesota House Floor Session. If this group is what todays Christianity is about, I'm turning in my Bible..."[/quote] i totally agree with you, took less than 5 minutes to find out bout these wack jobs...and in even more simple terms...what were u expecting when u book something called "junkyard prophet???

responsibleparty
responsibleparty

[quote]avee said: "Sure sounds like some don't want the other side of the story tols or shown. Let these people come in and show the complete video. I think a small group just want a big stink because someone dared to talk the truth for a change. Most people have been intimidated into silence when it comes to abortion and homosexuallity. "[/quote]

except if they were to show it all there would be 4 hours of video - 1 hour of Dean speaking and 1 hour each of the boys, girls and teachers sessions. Think they are going to show it all? of course not! and what parts are going to get edited? anything that shows them in a bad light... this isn't going to be a truth-telling session, it's gonna be a "get on the bandwagon - and oh, by the way, please DONATE to our cause!" session...

avee
avee

[quote]IowanAtheist said: "What truth? That a bunch of illiterate shepherds 2000+ years ago know more about homosexuality than modern science? "[/quote]---------------------Most people have been intimidated into silence when it comes to abortion and homosexuallity. Iowanatheist makes my point by calling anyone that disagrees "illiterate". What arrogance! What are these people afraid of? In my 70+years I have never heard one parent that said "I hope my child grows up to be a homosexual".


IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]avee said: "---------------------Most people have been intimidated into silence when it comes to abortion and homosexuallity. Iowanatheist makes my point by calling anyone that disagrees "illiterate". What arrogance! What are these people afraid of? In my 70+years I have never heard one parent that said "I hope my child grows up to be a homosexual"."[/quote]

You are right, most people *are* intimidated by groups such as this -- which is why it is such an effort to counter act them. That said, nice try at twisting my words. I *never* said that anyone that disagrees with the material on homosexuality is illiterate -- or even commented on abortion at all. That would be quite silly. Most of the christian anti-homosexuality bigots are quite literate, if their selection of reading materials is a bit limited and one sided. I simply pointed out that the Old Testament -- the portion of the bible that is most bigoted against homosexuality -- and the portion of the bible virtually all New Testament anti-homosexuality passages are based one -- was authored over two thousand years ago as part of an oral history by a nomadic tribe without a written language. A lot of advances have been made since these passages were first spoken that is left out.

brookshanes
brookshanes

[quote]IowanAtheist said: "What truth? That a bunch of illiterate shepherds 2000+ years ago know more about homosexuality than modern science?"[/quote]

Surely there is more knowledgeable method by which critically examine the group of medical professionals, Israeli kings, Italian dignitaries, some of the most wealthy citizens of old, et al, who crafted civilization's most widely read documents.

avee
avee

Those that want to silence and demonize those that believe in morality, traditional family and healthy lifestyle should read--- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “Be Not Afraid” Talking about Race, Homosexuality, Family etc. One of the best speeches I have ever heard or read. Excerpt:
------ “You had better not engage in serious debate or discussion unless you are willing to endure attacks that range from mere hostile bluster to libel”.----“ there is much wisdom that requires no genius. It takes no education and no great intellect to know that it is best for children to be raised in two parent families. Yet, those who dare say this are often accused of trying to impose their values on others. This condemnation does not rest on some great body of counterevidence; it is purely and simply an in-your-face response. It is, in short, intimidation. For brutes, the most effective tactic is to intimidate an opponent into the silence of self-censorship”.-

cf1981
cf1981

they want to come back to spread more garbage and religious nonsense? no thanks!

Kernel
Kernel

The issue at debate here isn't the validity of the Christian faith or its stances on many hot-button social issues. It is whether or not it is acceptable for a public institution to give one religion preference over all others.

The answer, as outlined in our own founding documents, is no. Religion can be taught at many places, from your local institution to the home or at a private school that subscribes to a given faith. A public place is not one of those places. We should not be forced to send children to schools that teach religious beliefs we do not ourselves hold. That's all.

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]Kernel said: "The issue at debate here isn't the validity of the Christian faith or its stances on many hot-button social issues. It is whether or not it is acceptable for a public institution to give one religion preference over all others.The answer, as outlined in our own founding documents, is no. Religion can be taught at many places, from your local institution to the home or at a private school that subscribes to a given faith. A public place is not one of those places. We should not be forced to send children to schools that teach religious beliefs we do not ourselves hold. That's all."[/quote]

Let's not forget paying taxes that go to *fund* these things, either. You wish to teach your religion to your children, do it on your own time, on your own dime, and leave me, and mine, out of it.

homer5r20
homer5r20

IowanAtheist...Why don't you just home school your children if you think the system is so wrong?

jjennings96
jjennings96

Homer.....Seriously? Religion in not allowed to be taught in public school. It is against the law. People who are victimized shouldn't complain they should just shut their mouths and stay at home.

SmallTownMom
SmallTownMom

Well, I for one was actually there at the assembly! I KNOW what went on and I will tell all of that think we are overreacting would have been apalled if thney would have been there too!
Dunkmom is right. The faculty didn't have a clue what we would be seeing. We didn't have an issues with the fact it was a Christian Band.. they were great. The issue was HOW the other matters where presented! Would you want your 7th or 8th grader attending an assemble you thought was going to be about bullying and self-esteem issues but came home telling you the saw very graphic photos of aborted fetuses? As an adult I didn'y want to see them so imagine how these kids felt!!

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]homer5r20 said: "IowanAtheist...Why don't you just home school your children if you think the system is so wrong?"[/quote]

The system is right -- these people just broke the law. There is no reason for me to home school, as I don't have special needs. It's the special needs people that want religion taught in school that need to home school.

Kernel
Kernel

[quote]homer5r20 said: "IowanAtheist...Why don't you just home school your children if you think the system is so wrong? "[/quote]

The system is generally right. It was abused in this case by those with a specific, religious agenda that is against the law.

IowanAtheist
IowanAtheist

[quote]Kernel said: "The system is generally right. It was abused in this case by those with a specific, religious agenda that is against the law."[/quote]

Exactly. It's like saying that if you don't appreciate restaurants wiping the floor with your food, you should eat at home. There is already laws in place to prevent the mistreatment of your food, and it should be a safe assumption that those laws will be followed.

mystere2
mystere2

I attended school in South Georgia in the 60s. Our superintendent held rallies to show the students how segregation was ' The Christian Way". It was a lie. Your school board is beating the Bible into compliance with their prejudices, not spreading the Love of Jesus. Be ashamed. Then refute such groups' message of discrimination

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.