No Justice for Liberty? Cuba High School Student Forced to Choose Between Graduation and God

Liberty Confronted by Injustice in Cuba Public School

Meet Liberty Thompson, an 18-year-old who is a Senior at Cuba High School in the small village of Cuba, New Mexico. Liberty is on track to be the valedictorian of her class and by graduation will have earned enough college credits to form an associate degree– the first ever in her high school to reach such a high level of achievement.  Earlier this year teachers assured Liberty she would be the star at her graduation ceremony.

Liberty- ABQJour Screenshot
Liberty Thompson. Photo Credit: Screenshot from ABQ Journal

Though Liberty studies hard and does her best in school, it doesn’t look like Liberty will even attend her own graduation ceremony.  In the 2012-2013 school year, Cuba High School adjusted its calendar and changed the day of graduation from Friday, a day that satisfied all students, to Saturday.

As a devout Seventh Day Adventist who puts God first, Liberty sets aside her Sabbath (Saturday) as a day of rest.  The school district has put Liberty in a position where she must choose between dedication to God and a graduation ceremony.

In a KOB4 video, Liberty reads from Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not onto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”

Liberty accepts that God is leading her and that she may miss her own graduation ceremony.

Cuba High School Threatens Liberty’s Father

As Dwight Thompson, Liberty’s father, asks questions and supports his daughter, Liberty, the Cuba Independent Schools school board doesn’t want to hear about it.  They have actually gone so far as to threaten to call the police if he continues to discuss the graduation issue, and ban him from the high school’s campus!

DwightThompson FB Post - CIS

Appealing to the School Board

When Liberty attempted to appeal to the school board, she was initially not allowed to voice her opinion.  A video from KRQE shows Liberty on the brink of tears after she arrived at a school board meeting and the board refused to allow her to speak.  The school board refused to hear Liberty speak two months in a row.

“Once we got notification from the NMPED that we could not change the calendar,” said school board president Christine Montoya, “there was no reason to continue with it because we would be in violation.”  But when reporters emailed NMPED they received a response that the school could change the date.

Finally, this week, Liberty’s father Dwight Thompson announced the exciting news that the school board has consented to listen to Liberty Thompson and allow her due process, though they insist that they will not change their policy:

DwightThompson FB Post

Cuba Independent School (CIS) District Nondiscriminatory Policy

Despite CIS’s Nondiscriminatory Policy, the school board has refused to enable all students to participate in high school graduation with a free conscience.  Maybe they should take this statement off their website?

Cuba Independent School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital or veteran status or disability in any educational programs, activities or employment. Cuba Independent School District also prohibits the use of racial, ethnic, and/or sexual slurs, including sexual harassment. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of a reader, amplifier, qualified sign language interpreter, or any other form of auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in a school meeting or hearing, or if you wish to receive assistance or information regarding student grievances, language translations of District  policy, Section 504 or Title IX, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at least one week prior to the meeting or as soon as possible.

Cuba Independent School District Nondiscriminatory Policy

The graduation was on Friday until the 2012 – 2013 school year.

The school board knowingly violated their own nondiscrimination policy.

Friday is Fair for all!

Why is the school board lying about their inability to change the graduation date and blaming the state of New Mexico?  Why are they threatening Dwight Thompson?

Friday is fair for all and would simply be returning to the “normal” graduation date for Cuba Independent School District.  Students and teachers have said they prefer a Friday.  All Dwight Thompson is seeking is justice for his daughter.

This is not a fight over “special rights.”  We simply want a return to normal and justice for Liberty Thompson!

Take Action!

SIGN THE PETITION: You can help.  First, please sign the petition asking the school board to return the graduation ceremony to Friday.

>>>>>  SIGN THE PETITION  <<<<<

CALL: (575) 289-3211 (Leave a polite, but clear message with the operator)

EMAIL: You can also email the school district and ask about their disregard for their nondiscriminatory policy and encourage them to return the graduation date to Friday here.  Please remember to be polite!

TWITTER: I will be starting a Twitter hashtag, #FridayIsFair. If you are on Twitter, please join me in tweeting for Liberty!

FACEBOOK: Please share the petition on Facebook and encourage your friends to sign it!

Know of another way to help?  Email me here.

Sources: KRQE, ABQ Journal, and KOB4.

38 comments

    1. Yes. Isn’t it sad the way Cuba Independent School District board is acting just like Cuba’s dictators and trampling Liberty’s religious freedom!?

      Let’s see some justice for Liberty!!

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  1. I believe this issue has reached it’s limits of stupidity. I see only one person to have an issue with this date for this graduation ceremony, and maybe a couple of her friends. The rest of the student body is okay with Saturday. I am glad the administration is doing great for keeping the dates and not changing because of someone’s religion. These are the days that we eliminate religion of out schools and politics. Sadly religion drivers her life and should be punished for her faith. She is not even being punished, just missing a party where they pass out a piece of paper that states you completed grade school. This is her faith, and no one else should pay for her beliefs except her own! You might know a couple of lines from the bible or the constitution, but get a grip, sadly this is reality. No one plays by the rules!

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    1. Well, “Reality” thank you for dropping by my blog, but you are dead wrong and your intolerance is disgusting. The comment below says everything:

      “I am glad the administration is doing great for keeping the dates and not changing because of someone’s religion. These are the days that we eliminate religion of out schools and politics. Sadly religion drivers her life and should be punished for her faith.”

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      1. This is “reality” checking in (again). Well Political Fireball, your one to say my intolerance is disgusting. Tell you what, here is the solution, since perhaps you’re too much of a dummy. Give her a graduation on Friday, at your own expense. Fathers would do anything for the children, I know I would.

        However, using her and your religion to get at the administration is just low. We can see there is an ulterior motive here, but whatever vendetta you have against Cuba Independent Schools should be done under your own name and your own time and not that of your children. Don’t scar your child’s future with this nonsense. Future employment have background checks and here is the scenario of your child’s possible future employer viewing her background… Oh she’s a devout Seven Day Adventist and she can’t work on a Saturdays… neeeeeext! Good luck in proving that in court!

        reality checking out.

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      2. Your dislike for Christianity and the devotion some have to their beliefs and conscience should not be a problem for you.

        I am standing for a righteous young woman who has been targeted. The school board doesn’t even want to hear her plea and they threaten her father (he has never made a legal threat of any kind, but they threaten to bar him from the campus!).

        As I highlighted above your comments attacking Christianity are vile and wrong.

        May God bless you with truth.

        -PF

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      3. Political Fireball,
        I never said I disliked Christianity. However, this particular devotion and belief is bothersome and not done conscientiously. As for you wording of choice; this topic IS vile, wrong, and disgusting!

        As your comment for standing for the righteousness of this young girl, who is targeted, well first she has to be righteous and a target. And why would an administration get to the point of calling police and barring the father? A tad extreme, I really wonder what provoked it? Seems there’s baggage, and if there’s baggage there is history. There’s more to story and it’s not being told. I’d say you’ve completely blown this out of proportion!

        And god blessing me with truth… well I for one can see the truth in all this and for some apparent reason it’s not coming to you at all. But that’s not uncommon for when you want an objective completed you completely become irrational and do whatever it takes to complete the objective. Too bad “god” can’t bless with you logic and rationalization. He blessed you with being THAT particular christian that everyone so dearly adores. cheerios

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      4. You “never said you disliked Christianity” but you attack it. Right. Some things don’t need to be said to be observed. Your rude attacks will not be tolerated here any more because you continue to be condescending.

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      5. Political Fireball, your observation is as ridiculous as this religion. If you’re not going to be open-minded about this informal subject then you shouldn’t be supporting it.

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      6. Maybe you should go write your own blogpost on the issue instead of attacking me and Christianity. Sound good? This is my space to share my perspective and you don’t have to like it.

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    2. Reality, Let’s review some facts:
      At last week’s Board meeting, 2 parents, only TWO, spoke up in favor of the Board keeping graduation on Saturday. Over 60% of the Seniors joined Liberty in requesting that they restore the date to Friday as it had been. Friday was fair for all and there was NO issue of separation of church and state. In addition to all the Seniors, there were teachers and parents who signed the petition as well. The overwhelming support is the return of graduation to Friday.

      Liberty has never “pushed” her religion on anyone. The District policy says “Cuba Independent School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry,… in any educational programs, activities or employment.”

      Without any input by parents, no survey, not calendar to review, they moved the day to Saturday with no documented reasons. Why is that when the majority of parents and seniors want the graduation kept on Friday? The Board knew in advance that changing the date to Saturday would deprive a student of participating in a very important event in her life, but changed it in conflict of religion with no justification. Why don’t you ask the District for a reason and report back to us!

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      1. Reviewing facts are we?

        We’ll here’s fact one; Dwight Thompson was once employed with Cuba independent Schools, and I’m sure you’ve angered many people in that town. I am not surprised they don’t want to deal with you anymore. It’s getting to the point of calling the police on you to have you thrown off campus! So we know there is history there, like I’ve already mentioned.

        Fact 2; They locked down the date already, there is no changing the day from Saturday to Friday.

        Fact 3; YOU lost.

        Deal with this disappointment, move on. Be the bigger man here and show your daughter that sometimes, “you win some, you lose some, but you fight to live another day”. You’re precious might not be the “star” that she so hoped to be, but that is life–reality.

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      2. So, “Reality,” your wishing things to be true, doesn’t make it true. Care to come out of hiding and identify yourself? I did work for CISD over a dozen years ago, and that’s suppose to be relevant now? Are you saying that people who teach are supposed to have some problem with the town? Sure not reflected by the students I taught. I love my community. What is this chip you’re caring on your shoulder? Because the district lawyer threatened me with police action or being banned if I ask any questions regarding graduation is simply bullying and a deprivation of my Constitutional rights. What have I done to deserve that? We weren’t even allowed to be put on the agenda to request that graduation be restored at a board meeting. When is asking ONE question to the board so threatening that they sick their lawyer on you to prevent due process?

        But you can’t answer why they changed the day from Friday to Saturday last year can you? They never invited the parents to their meeting and now THEY must answer for that.

        And you overlook a fundamental point. Who is graduation for?
        If the majority of the graduates want the date to be on Friday, and the majority of parents want it on Friday, then why is it so difficult for the Board to agree to restoring the date to Friday? One parent told the Board that they should let the students decide, what’s wrong with that? 6 months out, it’s not too late to let ALL students graduate? There is no reason to keep any students from THEIR day! There is NO proof that anyone bought an airline ticket, but it’s not about the guests, it’s about the graduates, or did you forget how important it was for you to walk? Or did you?

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      3. DT, I like that you used quotation marks for reality, because it’s an absent from you isn’t? I hope that answers my “wishing” part. And as for your employment with CISD, how many times have you butted heads with the administration? You might not have to answer that, because it’s perspicuous now. I’m not sure what chip you are referring to, but I am not under scrutiny here. I will not answer on behalf of the boards part why they would send the lawyer on you, in due time, i’m sure i’ll be reveled. There is something missing here and you’re not telling it. I am not an idiot, and people might act out of character all the time, but still reasonable, so what are you not telling us? You’re attitude? You’re approach to the board? What?

        DT, I might not give a definite answer as to why they changed the day from Friday to Saturday, but if it happened last year, why not the fuss then? Right, this has nothing to do with due process, or religion, you’re exploiting this for the wrong reasons.

        I did not overlook the fact that this graduation is for the students at Cuba High School. And of the 60% of students that support the Friday date, how many will not show? How many of the staff will not show that supports Friday?

        1. I hope you won’t say one person won’t show.
        2. Staff will show, because they still get paid for that day.
        3. But if 60% don’t show, then less traffic, less hassle.

        If the parents of the graduating class feel that’s unfair, well you should put one up yourselves. Why go through a graduation where you child will be greeted by and handed their diplomas from the same administration that won’t allow them to have a graduation on a Friday! That’s just nonsense!

        Oh I did walk down the aisle at my high school, what a complete waste of time. College it was mailed to me! (That is about as personable as it’s going to get!)

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      4. Are you sure you graduated from High School, “Reality”? Regardless of whether you did or not, you should go back and learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”.

        Again, you have attacked Christianity throughout your comments, but now you are going personal against Mr. Thompson? How very troll-ish of you. You obviously have nothing better to do than follow articles about Liberty and post hateful comments in the discussion section.

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      5. Let’s say for argument sake that I didn’t finish High School or received any formal education. But if you can’t infer from the context of the statements then you are, lack of a better word, an imbecile.

        Because in all my posts I have asked many questions, not one clearly answered from either of you.

        Political Fireball, you are a special kind of idiot aren’t you? Political Fireball and Dwight Thompson, same idiot I presume. Not an assumption, but by use of the email that you used to register.

        I haven’t posted anything hateful in any of the discussions nor have I “attacked” Christianity. I am merely pointing out the obvious. I don’t know what to do with the comment of “having nothing better to do”, but I am trying to help an idiot (you) see through this, yet all I get is I am posting hateful comments and hating Christianity.

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      6. From the very beginning you attacked Liberty’s devotion to her religion. Why shouldn’t we be praising a young woman who delights in something beside today’s gods of sex, pop-culture and rebellion? She is actually following what she believes God would want her to do.

        But all you can do, “Reality”, is attack the girl’s religion, the girl and her father. You’re pathetic.

        As to calling me an imbecile and idiot– well, the name calling shows you’re just a bully who whines, screams and goes to name-calling when you don’t get your way.

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      7. Gods of Sex? Is there something wrong with fertility gods? There you go again with that God would like her to do this… might as well strap an explosive to your chest!

        I am a bully, and I will call you as I see fit! You don’t like it, tough.

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    3. “Reality,” only 2 adults, TWO, have voices support for the Board to have graduation on Saturday. The common sense thing to do is to keep it on Friday which is fair for all students and does not get into any religious issues. The overwhelming majority of Seniors, yes, the ones walking, signed the petition to restore it to Friday. The majority of parents and teachers want it on Friday. So where do you get the idea that the District, who acted without any student or parental input, is defending anyone’s rights? All students can graduate on Friday and want it on Friday. Who is the District to go against the majority of students and parents? And by the way, who are you? are you even from Cuba? Why not tell us who you really are and why you support a Board that is going against the community?

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  2. Forced to choose? really? Her life is not in danger, what if a student says he can’t attend his graduation if it’s in a friday because friday is the day of worshiping the pink unicorn?
    Ok, the girl has the right to believe she’ll burn in hell if she doesn’t go to church 1 saturday in her life but I think It’s ridiculous and unfair for the rest if she actually gets what she’s asking the school right now.

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    1. Well, you’ve shared your opinion.

      Liberty is seeking to follow God. The school board knowingly changed the day of the graduation. Now they can change it back. It’s a religious belief– if she were of another religion the Left would be up in arms by now shouting “Discrimination!”

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    2. Political fireball,
      If liberty is seeking to follow God, why is she at a public school? There are catholic schools in Cuba and if not Cuba in surrounding areas?

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      1. Okay. You’ve had your free speech. Any more rude comments will not be allowed on my blog.

        In case you didn’t know there is a difference between Catholicism, Christianity and Seventh Day Adventist Christianity.

        If you can’t figure that out yourself I suggest you give Google a visit.

        Goodbye and God bless,

        -PF

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      2. I don’t need Google to tell me you clowns are all the same! I also don’t need “free speech” to say what I want to say, this is the internet. You really shouldn’t have a blog and support a cause.

        May your god except you as the idiot in his village.

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      3. Leftist? Well paint on my mustache and hold my hand up high! God be d$%^&d, I might as well shove you into that furnace along with your blogpost!

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    3. Unfair to the others? we’re talking about the majority of Seniors, their parents, and teachers want the graduation restored to Friday. Only 2 parents spoke up at November’s Board meeting to support the Saturday date. So who’s being unfair to who?

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  3. The above morons seem to have no reading comprehension. ”……the other students, and the teachers would rather have graduation on Friday.” WHY was it changed to Sat? It CAN be changed back to Fri. The State has no standing in this debate, that was used as an excuse! I AM sick an tired of sniveling progressive athiests forcing their BS onto everyone else. Had to block my own sister from my FB acct for that very reason. Oh btw, MERRY CHRISTMAS, you ungodly sob’s!!

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    1. DOC 9-0-1-2-0, I believe it was changed to Saturday, so everyone can attend the graduation. Try getting a Friday off, because you kid or grand kids are graduating, it’s not so easy for employers to understand. But a Saturday, well hey you can have that day and do whatever you like.

      Its ironic how you are, “tired of sniveling progressive athiests forcing their BS onto everyone else”, how do you think everyone else’s feels about YOUR religion? I think between DOC1952 and Political Fireball, you’re not really grasping this are you? You’re not really hearing yourselves on this matter, you’re really not.

      And blocking your sister on facebook because of her views, well that’s original. Oh an Merry Christmas to you too! [God is not in that holiday anymore either. It’s about giving and getting gifts, you can ask any kid that and he’ll tell you the exact same thing. These are the days my friend, these are the days… You can call me the devil later, I’m used to it now]

      As to Max for the pink unicorn, Haha I like that!

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      1. Well Reality, we welcome for you to discover some evidence for your assumption as to why it was changed to Saturday. The parents were never polled or surveyed, no newsletter was sent home, and no calendar was ever given to parents to review. It was an arbitrary decision that the District made knowing it would create a conflict. Schools are increasingly holding graduations on weekdays to avoid conflicts with faith groups and to avoid having to pay the staff an extra day. One person even suggested that the seniors should decide since it’s their day. Anything wrong with that?

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  4. Liberty could not get the help she needed in Math (She got an A+ in Trig and had over a 4.0 in all her high school classes the last three years) to learn higher levels and to complete Dual Enrollment courses. Knowing that she needed to excel in areas to do well in UNM’s BAMD program, she kept trying to get teachers and the counselor to help her identify weaknesses and to master concepts that were appearing on tests, but she didn’t have in class. No one helped.

    Frustrated, she has switch schools to one that has very high ACT scores and a very rigorous curriculum….and respects students who want to excel instead of holding them back. She didn’t mind not walking with her class so much, as she was happy to put the Lord first in her life, but not being able to master academics that she knew she needed for college was getting her discouraged.

    What “reality” doesn’t get, is that we have so many students at CHS who are doing their best to prepare for college, but CHS does not have any support for students in dual enrollment classes. The Senior mentors do not know how to help student enroll at CNM and they scheduled Senior tests the very day the CNM representative came to help…so they couldn’t see her.

    Here’s a real reality check: 44 Seniors down to 39. Of the 39, 22 can’t walk, leaving 17 potentially eligible to graduate. Liberty was smart to find another school where she can prosper.

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    1. Well Dwight Thompson, I am glad reality has finally dawned on you. As for the reality check for the potential graduating seniors, well tough luck! You can’t always win. You can now turn your attention on whoever “they” are that don’t help students enroll in college.

      I hope that’s G-rated enough, so called political-fireballs.

      Like

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