Column: School board to pray for relief from prayer ban

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The Chino Valley Unified School District board is appealing a judge’s order to stop praying and proselytizing at its meetings. I was there for the 3-2 vote Monday (and the prayer circle afterward) and spoke to the attorney Tuesday. The latest in the Chino culture wars makes up Wednesday’s column. Above, board president Andrew Cruz speaks with supporters as he leaves the board room; that’s Chino United Methodist Church across the street, an appropriate backdrop.

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Text of Andrew Cruz’s comments Aug. 13

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At Thursday’s Chino Valley Unified School District board meeting, the first since his political monologue at the July 16 session that created a furor, board member Andrew Cruz asked for time to speak prior to the 19 public comments. I shot video (watch the first part here) and transcribed his comments verbatim, mistakes, missing words and all, as best I could.

Cruz: “Since our last board meeting, I thought a lot of my comments made in an unorganized, hasty manner. Although I support strong family values, I have never intended to exclude any single child from my heart, because I believe every living human being is very precious and is born with unfortunate purposes in life. If my comments made, derived from research and news media reports, may have left you victimized, please accept my sincere apologies. ‘Cause that’s not who I am.

“I’d rather choose to be the victim but never to be the one who would hurt someone both intentionally and intentionally. Thank you and I truly love each one of you.”

[finishes reading from prepared remarks]

“I just want to say one thing. And that is, this boardsmanship that I have is a very beautiful experience that I am dealing with. I am grateful and humbled of the things I am doing and how I am working with children throughout these three years. But I have tremendous joy in my heart, and that these things I see, and the things that are going on, I will speak from my heart. I am grateful and humble knowing the fact that the pain that you guys are feeling, I can definitely relate what you are going through here. You know, as a special ed student, I do, based on things that I have experienced, a lot of these things that felt the same way that I felt when I was younger. And it’s a dirty shame that it had to be the way it was directed. It may have been misguided, but it was from my heart, of the things I had seen and the direction of this country that it’s going towards. And you may not accept that –”

Irene Hernandez-Blair, the board president: “OK, Mr. Cruz…”

Cruz: “Hold on please.”

Hernandez-Blair: “This is a statement for public comment.”

Cruz: “Thank you.”

Look for my column on the meeting in Sunday’s paper.

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