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Pinellas has plan to replace Learning for Life program

Pinellas County school administrators have already assembled a plan for how to provide additional services to the six schools that will not be using a Boy Scout-affiliated character education program this year as planned.

After school board members decided 4-3 earlier this week not to approve a $54,838 grant to Learning for Life, a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America, on the grounds that the Boy Scouts prohibits homosexuals from its organization, board members on both sides said they wanted to be sure a replacement program was available to affected schools.

According to a memo interim superintendent John Stewart sent board members Thursday, the schools' faculty, staff and parents will receive additional training in "Commitment to Character," the school district's existing character development program already in use in all schools. The six schools in question will also receive recommended lessons and classroom resources and they will hold student assemblies.

"The goal of the program is to create a school culture saturated with character qualities such as respect, responsibility, honesty, and self-motivation to promote highest student achievement in a safe learning environment," Stewart wrote.

Finally, the district's staff is seeking an additional grant from the John Templeton Foundation to supplement character education at four middle schools, including two of those effected by Tuesday's board vote — Tyrone and Palm Harbor middle schools.

The other schools that were originally scheduled to receive the Learning for Life program were Mildred Helms and Skyview elementary schools, Safety Harbor Middle and Paul B. Stephens Exceptional Student Education Center.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts, a private group, could prohibit gays.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at (727) 893-8707 or rcatalanello@sptimes.com.

Pinellas has plan to replace Learning for Life program 10/13/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:05pm]
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