The NYTimes.com has picked up a charming story from that part of the state that we natives like to call "Slower Delaware":
[Mona] Dobrich, who is Orthodox, said that when she was a girl, Christians here had treated her faith with respectful interest. Now, she said, her son was ridiculed in school for wearing his yarmulke. She described a classmate of his drawing a picture of a pathway to heaven for everyone except “Alex the Jew.”
Mrs. Dobrich’s decision to leave her hometown and seek legal help came after a [Indian River School District] school board meeting in August 2004 on the issue of prayer. [School board member] Dr. [Donald G.] Hattier had called [local talk radio station] WGMD to discuss the issue, and [pro-prayer radio host Dan] Gaffney and others encouraged people to go the meeting. Hundreds showed up.
A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.”
Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”
This isn't about religion, it's about power. The idiots who ran the Dobriches out aren't Christians. They're just gang members. Their colors are a WWJD bracelet and the sign they throw up is a cross. It's basic tribal behavior, driving out the stranger. The words "Jesus Saves" are just decoration on a banner the tribe rallies around, having as little relation to ideas about, say, peace and love as does a burning cross, and serving a similar function.
Stories like this are depressing and enraging because there's so little we can do to fix the problem. Still, let's do what we can. One obvious step is to join the ACLU. If you're already a member then think about making a larger donation - if you can - on top of the membership fee. If you also want to help in this specific case, the entity to contact is the ACLU of Delaware. I know the people there; they do a fantastic job with a shoestring budget.
One thing not to do is have lots of people call or write the school district. There's at least one other family still there, and there could be other "undesirables" not involved in the lawsuit. When you have a volatile, abusive person in a house with a potential victim, you don't insult the abuser over the phone when it could trigger more violence. Same here. Blog the story, contribute to the legal fund, and help beat them in court - great. But discourage mass calling and writing.