Forest Lake High School Veterans Event Canceled

I am an alumni of Forest Lake High School (FLHS) in Forest Lake, MN. Recently the Principal Dr. Steve Massey canceled an event where veterans from the group Vets for Freedom were scheduled to come speak to a social studies class. Dr. Massey and his staff were contacted by persons that oppose the published goals of Vets for Freedom stating that they would protest at FLHS if the event took place. Dr. Massey realizing that the appearance of protests would be that FLHS was making a political statement in support of the Iraq war was inappropriate for a educational institution.

I listened to Dr. Massey and Pete Hagseth, Executive Director of Vets for Freedom discuss the cancellation on the Jack Rice show aired on WCCO radio on 3/25/2008. Both parties were amicable but disappointed (for different reasons) that the event did not take place. It was also very evident that Dr. Massey had taken steps to ensure that the event would not contain any political positions but would simply be about the life of a veteran and what serving was and is like.

My opinion, which I also spoke to Mr. Rice about on air, is this. I agree that Dr. Massey needed to cancel the event because a public educational institution should not come off as having a political agenda. However, if the event had been put on by an opposing group like Veterans for Peace would Vets for Freedom have threatened a protest? I think it is very unfortunate that a well meaning educator was forced to cancel an event because others were unwilling to trust his judgement. It should also be noted that it was reported on WCCO Radio that the vast majority of the pressure was not from parents of the district but instead from national organizations who in my opinion should not be meddling in this district.

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