Cuba, New Mexico High School Student Forced to Choose Between Graduation and God

Liberty Confronted by Injustice in Cuba Public School

Meet Liberty Thompson, an 18-year-old who is a Senior at Cuba High School in the small village of Cuba, New Mexico. Liberty is on track to be the valedictorian of her class and by graduation will have earned enough college credits to form an associate degree– the first ever in her high school to reach such a high level of achievement.  Earlier this year teachers assured Liberty she would be the star at her graduation ceremony.

Liberty- ABQJour Screenshot
Credit: Screenshot from ABQ Journal

Though Liberty studies hard and does her best in school, it doesn’t look like Liberty will even attend her own graduation ceremony.  In the 2012-2013 school year, Cuba High School adjusted its calendar and changed the day of graduation from Friday, a day that satisfied all students, to Saturday.

As a devout Seventh Day Adventist who puts God first, Liberty sets aside as her Sabbath as a day of rest.  The school district has put Liberty in a position where she must choose between dedication to God and a graduation ceremony.

In a KOB4 video, Liberty reads from Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not onto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”

Liberty accepts that God is leading her and that she may miss her own graduation ceremony.

Cuba High School Threatens Liberty’s Father

As Dwight Thompson, Liberty’s father, asks questions and supports his daughter, Liberty, the Cuba Independent Schools school board doesn’t want to hear about it.  They have actually gone so far as to threaten to call the police if he continues to discuss the graduation issue, and ban him from the high school’s campus!

DwightThompson FB Post - CIS

Appealing to the School Board

When Liberty attempted to appeal to the school board, she was initially not allowed to voice her opinion.  A video from KRQE shows Liberty on the brink of tears after she arrived at a school board meeting and the board refused to allow her to speak.  The school board refused to hear Liberty speak two months in a row.

“Once we got notification from the NMPED that we could not change the calendar,” said school board president Christine Montoya, “there was no reason to continue with it because we would be in violation.”  But when reporters emailed NMPED they received a response that the school could change the date.

Finally, this week, Liberty’s father Dwight Thompson announced the exciting news that the school board has consented to listen to Liberty Thompson and allow her due process, though they insist that they will not change their policy:

DwightThompson FB Post

Cuba Independent School (CIS) District Nondiscriminatory Policy

Despite CIS’s Nondiscriminatory Policy, the school board has refused to enable all students to participate in high school graduation with a free conscience.  Maybe they should take this statement off their website?

Cuba Independent School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital or veteran status or disability in any educational programs, activities or employment. Cuba Independent School District also prohibits the use of racial, ethnic, and/or sexual slurs, including sexual harassment. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of a reader, amplifier, qualified sign language interpreter, or any other form of auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in a school meeting or hearing, or if you wish to receive assistance or information regarding student grievances, language translations of District  policy, Section 504 or Title IX, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at least one week prior to the meeting or as soon as possible.

Cuba Independent School District Nondiscriminatory Policy

The graduation was on Friday until the 2012 – 2013 school year.

The school board knowingly violated their own nondiscrimination policy.

Friday is Fair for all!

Why is the school board lying about their inability to change the graduation date and blaming the state of New Mexico?  Why are they threatening Dwight Thompson?

Friday is fair for all and would simply be returning to the “normal” graduation date for Cuba Independent School District.  Students and teachers have said they prefer a Friday.  All Dwight Thompson is seeking is justice for his daughter.

This is not a fight over “special rights.”  We simply want a return to normal and justice for Liberty Thompson!

Take Action!

SIGN THE PETITION: You can help.  First, please sign the petition asking the school board to return the graduation ceremony to Friday.

>>>>>  SIGN THE PETITION  <<<<<

EMAIL: You can also email the school district and ask about their disregard for their nondiscriminatory policy and encourage them to return the graduation date to Friday here.  Please remember to be polite!

TWITTER: I will be starting a Twitter hashtag, #FridayIsFair. If you are on Twitter, please join me in tweeting for Liberty!

FACEBOOK: Please share the petition on Facebook and encourage your friends to sign it!

Know of another way to help?  Email me here.

Sources: KRQE, ABQ Journal, and KOB4.

Cross-posted on my blog politicalfireball.wordpress.com