By Demorris A. Lee, Times Staff Writer
Saturday, July 30, 2011
http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/ ... lp/1183281
Send Maurice Mickens a copy of Janet Reitman's and Hugh Urban's books and see if they'll put them in their school library.CLEARWATER — Looking for a savior, a North Pinellas charter school that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy has asked for help from the director of a group affiliated with Scientology.
Life Force Arts and Technology Academy, which caters to low-income children from Clearwater's North Greenwood neighborhood, filed paperwork in federal court July 25 showing it is $250,000 in debt.
To help the school recover, Mickens and the other board members have turned to Hanan Islam, executive director of the World Literacy Crusade. The group promotes the use of study techniques developed by L. Ron Hubbard, the late founder of the Church of Scientology.
Islam said Mickens approached her earlier because the school needed help. She said she immediately saw what the problems were and gave Mickens a written report. She said he didn't follow her advice.
Now, she said, "We are coming to reorganize it and save the school. We want to make sure the church is taken care of and staff are paid. The priority is rent, staff and taxes. Our only job is to help save it, turn it around. There are no intentions of taking over the school.
"This is what we do," Islam said. "We set up programs in churches and schools all over the world."
Mickens makes no apologies for reaching out to Islam's group and to Scientology.
"I don't look at a person's religion to determine what they do, but what can they do for me," he said. "We had people who were Christians and they put us in a hole."
Mickens said he is not a Scientologist, but a Baptist church deacon. Scientology can provide "some techniques and stuff for reading that has worked very well," he said.
"I'm the type of person, somebody got a good tool, you use the darn thing," Mickens said. "Sometimes people's prejudices can stop things. They are hard workers and I don't have a problem (with them)."
Islam said the students will not be taught about Scientology.
"My organization does not push any religion at all," Islam said. "We are into creating stellar education programs, particularly in the inner city. I don't care what color, what religion, it doesn't matter."
[....Full article in above link...]