FitzGerald and four of his fellow seniors from John Burroughs will
attend a town hall meeting in Sacramento Thursday to tell elected
officials exactly what the teens think about the role religion plays, or
should play, in public schools.
"Everyone has the right to say what they want," said 18-year-old Joel Wilson, who is Jewish. "It's OK to think what you want, as long as it
doesn't infringe on others' beliefs."
The students were invited to take part in the LegiSchool Project, a
civic collaboration between California State University and the
California State Legislature.
All schools who agreed to attend the meeting were given $1,200 from
the office of state Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco) to attend the
Dave Bridge, 17, is a devout Presbyterian who believes the Pledge of
Allegiance should continue to be said in public schools, despite the
notion that even the pledge falls under the category of religion or
"The Pledge of Allegiance should be said," said Bridge. "I think that
God looks over this nation."
Mary Grace Savella, 17, and Matt Bond, 18, will also attend. The
group will have an opportunity to discuss the topic, "Religion in Public
Schools: Free Speech or Public Sponsorship of Religious Beliefs?" with
state senators Richard G. Polanco (D-Los Angeles) and Ray Haynes
(R-Riverside), and Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Burbank).
The school group is made up of staff members of Smoke Signal, the
school's monthly publication. They all come from different religious
backgrounds and ideologies, but agree that an individual's right to
choose is paramount.