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About This Site
Hoover Board of Education Invocation
What is it?
The City of Hoover, Alabama, decided to break away from the Jefferson County School System in 1987. The city formed Hoover City Schools (HCS), which is overseen by the HCS Board of Education (BoE). The BoE consists of five members who are appointed by the Hoover City Council. Each member serves a staggered five year term (this means that only one member is appointed per year). Once appointed, the member does not report to anyone except for the rest of the BoE. They cannot be removed unless they are impeached or resign.
When the HCS BoE was formed in 1987 they decided to say an invocation before each regular Board meeting. An invocation is allowed under the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, contrary to what some organizations and groups may claim.
In January 2009 one member of the Board, President Suzy Baker (who is no longer on the Board), made a procedural move to replace the invocation with a "moment of silence". According to HCS Attorney Donald Sweeney, he recommended this so as to not offend anyone in the audience and also to prevent any group from filing a lawsuit against HCS, although no group or organization had threatened to do so.
Although many residents of Hoover voiced their objections to this move, and several editorials (6/10/2009 Birmingham News; 7/8/10 Birmingham News) were written criticizing this move, the Board did not go back to the invocation. In April 2010, then President Donna Frazier ran for re-appointment to the BoE after serving a five-year term. One of her pledges to the City Council if she were re-appointed was to bring the invocation back. Mrs. Frazier was re-appointed by a vote of 5-2 and, true to her word,
said the invocation at the May 2010 Regular Board meeting.
Mrs. Frazier's courageous pledges and actions garnered much attention from the media, and someone in Hoover reported the return of the invocation to a group called Americans United (AU). AU
sent a letter to the BoE advising them to return to the moment of silence or they would file a lawsuit against HCS for violation of the Establishment Clause (also known as the 1st Amendment). Mr. Sweeney advised the BoE to cave to the threat and newly elected Board President A.W. Bolt opted for the moment of silence to open the June 2010 Regular meeting.
A non-denominational invocation is permissible under the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. Not only does the US Congress open their daily sessions with an invocation, but so do thousands of other governmental agencies. Groups like the AU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) use threats (not lawsuits, but threats of lawsuits) to stop our right to have an invocation, mostly with successful results. Why? Because the governmental groups, like the Hoover BoE, are afraid of going to court and would rather cave to these baseless threats.
Recently the Birmingham City Council was threatened in a similar fashion by the FFRF against their use of an invocation to open their meetings. Unlike the Hoover BoE, though, the Birmingham City Council told the FFRG to go ahead and file their lawsuit. They, unlike the Hoover Board of Education, were not afraid of threats. No response from the FFRF has been heard, and none is expected. Talk is cheap. Filing losing lawsuits isn't, which is something the FFRF and other groups knows very well.
In response to the
letter from the Americans United group, the
Foundation for Moral Law
letter to the Hoover BoE backing the invocation and stating case law that
How do we fix it?
|Board Member Name
|President Earl Cooper
||Earl Cooper, Hoover City Schools Central Office, 2810 Metropolitan Way, Hoover, AL 35243
|Vice-President Paulette Pearson
||Paulette Pearson, Hoover City Schools Central Office, 2810 Metropolitan Way, Hoover, AL 35243
||Donna Frazier, Hoover City Schools Central Office, 2810 Metropolitan Way, Hoover, AL 35243
||Derrick Murphy, Hoover City Schools Central Office, 2810 Metropolitan Way, Hoover, AL 35243
||Steven Presley, Hoover City Schools Central Office, 2810 Metropolitan Way, Hoover, AL 35243
|E-Mail All Members At Once
||By using this e-mail address, you will be sending it to all five Board members at once.
Attend the meetings and voice your opinion during the Public Participation portion of the meeting. Currently there are only
2 1 people in Hoover who are not employed by Hoover City Schools who attend the meetings on a regular basis.
2 1! Out of a population of over 80,000! If more people would attend the meetings and voice their opinion on this matter (and others), the Board would be more inclined to do the right thing. But right now the Board members outnumber the audience members. Be heard! (Figures rev.5/2011)
Don't have children attending Hoover schools? Doesn't matter. If you own a house in Hoover then what happens in the school system affects you too. One of the factors of property values is the local school system. If the area has good schools, people will want to move there, which will cause home values to rise.
When are the meetings?
The Board of Education usually has their monthly meeting on the 2nd Monday of each month at 5:30pm with some exceptions. The 2012-2013 Schedule
has been made (subject to change - check the
BoE page on the Hoover City Schools web site for the latest revision):
Where are the meetings?
The meetings are in the Board Room of the Hoover City Schools Central Office, 2810 Metropolitan Way, Hoover, AL 35243 439-1000. Here is the Google Maps page to all of the schools.
Quick directions: Take I-459 to Acton Road. If coming from the north, turn right toward Old Rocky Ridge Road. If coming from the south, turn left toward Old Rocky Ridge Road. At Old Rocky Ridge Road (you'll see Rocky Ridge Elementary School in front of you), turn left. When you see the Rocky Ridge Fire Department station, turn right on to Metropolitan Way. Turn right into the Central Office parking lot.
Who are the Board of Education Members?
The current members of the Board of Education are:
President Earl Cooper - Mr. Cooper is in his
first year of his second five year term. He was reappointed by the Hoover City
Council in April 2013 without any opposition
after the city council president, Jack Wright, made it clear that they wanted
Mr. Cooper to serve a second term. Mr. Cooper works for the Southern Company.
Vice-President Paulette Pearson - Mrs. Pearson is in the
fifth year of her first term as Board Member. She is currently serving in the capacity of Vice-President and runs the meetings in case the President is absent. Mrs. Pearson is retired from the Hoover City Schools where she worked as a counselor.
Donna Frazier - Mrs. Frazier is in the
fourth year of her second term as Board Member. Mrs. Frazier has been President of the Board twice, 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. Mrs. Frazier owns an interior design business.
Derrick Murphy - Mr.
Murphy is in his third year of his first term as Board Member. He replaced
Dr. Ronald Braswell, who resigned three months into his first term. Mr.
Murphy is an engineer with the Birmingham Water Works Board.
Steven Presley - Mr.
Presley is in his second year of his first term as Board Member. He replaced
Bill Veitch, who served 2 terms as Board Member, but did not seek a third term. Mr.
Presley owns a landscaping company.
More information can be found on the
Board page of the Hoover City Schools.