Religion in faculty emails

Discussion in 'General Education' started by catnfiddle, Jan 8, 2015.

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  1. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This is something that has been bothering me for a while. I am the one non-Christian member of my teaching team (I'm Jewish). The math teacher on my team uses a rotating series of bible quote "signatures" in his emails to faculty and staff (students are on a separate email program). Some of them are more on the uplifting side, but many of them are religious to the point that I feel uncomfortable. When I've mentioned it to the math teacher in the past, his answer was that he deliberately chose bible quotes that didn't mention Jesus.

    Has anyone else had this kind of communication issue? How was this handled? I feel like I don't have the right to feel a little marginalized. For the record, the only reason my team knows I am Jewish is because I have taken off during certain holidays. My usual rule is to avoid discussing religion, politics, and UFOs. :whistle:
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I have had a similar issue at my school in the past. I actually brought it to the attention of administration. I am definitely NOT a tattletale, but the issue was not resolved to my satisfaction when I attempted to resolve it on my own. I felt that since I was essentially a captive audience, forced to read the coworker's emails with the offending content, the situation needed to be resolved. As long as what my coworkers do doesn't really impact me, I don't care much about what they do. When it does impact me, such as essentially forcing me to be a participant in their proselytizing or evangelizing, then I do care.

    In my situation, admin resolved the issue immediately. The other teacher got annoyed with me and didn't talk to me ever again at school. Not a huge loss, really.
     
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I have no clue whatsoever as to the religion of any of the 60 or so staff members who work at my school.

    I like it that way.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Flaunting one's religion in the signature of work emails is less unprofessional than is flaunting one's sexual activities, but not by much. The coworker needs to stop, now.
     
  6. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    One of my team members uses a quote from Ghandi, another a quote from Buddha.

    I've never cared even a little bit.
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I've tried to go that route, Rockguykev, but it HAS begun to bother me a little more each week, perhaps because the quotations have become less on the inspirational end of things and more toward the evangelizing side.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    If the sender is using district email to send religious information, it may actually be unlawful. You might want to ask your union rep about it.

    It would drive me crazy to get emails like that.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree, it is sloppy.

    I believe you have the right to
    1. say something to admin to have it "fixed"
    2. have the right to block this persons e-mails and someone other than you would be resposible for getting the information to you in a proper e-mail.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I agree it's best the coworker know that s/he is making others uncomfortable with the quotes, but I'm not seeing this as 'flaunting' nor do I see the parallel to sharing sexual exploits.:confused:
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I know some people at work have "signatures" at the bottom of their emails. I do noticed they are in "quotes" but other than that I can't tell you what they say since I never bother reading them. I'm not sure how I would personally go about bringing it up since most people would say to just ignore it.
     
  12. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    While I am a devoted Christian, I have to completely agree with you. This teacher should not be sending bible quotes to non-Christian teammates period. I am even more bothered that this teacher still didn't seem to listen to you that you don't want any bible passage after you brought it to him/her. If you can stomach it, I hope you can somehow have another talk with this person and I hope he/she listens to you. Good luck!
     
  13. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    I don't know. Most districts have a disclaimer saying this email is confidential and does not reflect the opinion of the district. I never bought this argument that someone feeling marginalized is a reason to limit another's self expression. I feel marginalized at staff meetings when everyone breaks out in Spanish for 30 minutes, but I wouldn't dare complain. I think this is something you shouldn't give that much attention to.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Teachers shouldn't be evangelizing in their emails to other staff members. I take it that you do not work in a religious school. It's unprofessional. You've made your appeal to this person and they only continued to do it. I'd make a complaint with my admin.
     
  15. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Why not put some Jewish quotes in yours and call it even?
     
  16. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    This would be unprofessional.
     
  17. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Because it's not about getting even, it's about doing what's right and respectful.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm considering both the source and the story, czacza. As for the source, cat's not the type to look for excuses to be offended: if she's posting about the signatures here, it's because they're objectively bothersome. As to the story, she reports having pointed out her discomfort to the colleague, whose response was to blow her off, and it's at that point that he crosses the line into flaunting.
     
  19. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    If it is not vulgar or violent, it would not bother me. I would skip reading it. I think of the signature as a reflection of the person sending it. I am open to other ideas and am one who would rather not have unnecessary rules imposed. I like Gandhi quotes but am not Hindu. I would like to read quotes from the Torah but am not Jewish.

    It seems like the modern way is for people to say if they don't agree, you can't do it.
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Just to give you a couple of examples:

    “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13 (honestly, I kind of like this one as affirmative of the power of friendship)

    “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (this one is a little more evangelizing but it's still uplifting)

    “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (this is one that I consider over the top)
     
  21. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Many big companies would have policies in place prohibiting this sort of thing.

    His school email is not personal, and he shouldn't use it to advance his religion.
     
  22. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    To back up that rationale, according to the staff meeting I had to sit through again in the fall, it became harrassment when he was asked to stop, and then continued despite being informed that it made another uncomfortable. I would approach HR and complain, or if there is someone in charge of HIB in your organization, I would approach them. My religious leanings are private, and I would feel that I was a captive audience who couldn't leave the building given Cat's examples. It shouldn't be on the school email, IMO, and a HIB officer would probably take action to rectify the situation.
     
  23. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Wow, that is shocking to me. I don't think religion is a taboo topic though. I also think its just a matter of knowing the people you work with on a more personal level; like friends and family.
     
  24. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    It would be a problem at our school because our emails are considered legal documents, and may be used in court. Our signatures are mostly just what and where we teach, and a confidentiality statement.
     
  25. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I just found out the religion of a co-worker after 3 years of knowing him at school. It just came up in conversation (about holidays) otherwise I would not know. It's never really talked about.
     
  26. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    So you would be fine with signatures that say "Women are objects to be used and disposed of." or "Blacks ought to be put back into slavery."

    You'd just ignore it, right? It just reflects the person's views.
     
  27. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    That's a little more hyperbolic than the situation I'm discussing. Thankfully, my coworker hasn't used any quotations that are over-the-top "convert or suffer the flames of Perdition", which would be the equivalent of what you have posted.
     
  28. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Me too. People with Bible quotes as their email signature or who have Bible quotes up in their classroom or at their desk doesn't bother me, persoanlly.
     
  29. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    It might bother me as a Black woman, but I would ignore. I don't have the time to go complaining to Admin about a co-worker's email signature.
     
  30. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    But for someone who it did bother and who did have the time, do you think they would have the RIGHT?
     
  31. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    There are a lot of things that don't bother me personally that I still recognize as wrong.
     
  32. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Ok. And?

    I still would not go to Admin to complain about a teacher's email signature. Now, if you would, that's fine.
     
  33. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My school email is used, not just for communicating with other staff members, but for any of my "professional" communication, which includes parents. I used to have a fairly generic quote included in my email signature, but took it off after I was questioned about its meaning by a parent. The parent wasn't accusatory, just questioning, but it made me more aware of how different audiences were viewing what I sent out. The last thing I want to do is risk offending someone.

    I find the last example you quoted, cat, as crossing way over the line. School email is not the place to preach. As a signature line in a personal email, fine, but not a professional one.
     
  34. mariecurie

    mariecurie Companion

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    What if they're simply quoting the Bible as a work of historical fiction? Books are quoted all the time. It doesn't have to mean they're pushing an agenda.
     
  35. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    OP here again. The teacher posting the quotations is also the sponsor of the school's Christian Students club (I forget the exact name), so this is something he believes very strongly.

    I'm still struggling with how to handle my own feelings. My initial reaction is to attempt to let it go, but it is interfering with my interactions with him. I hate talking with him over the phone or in person because I feel judged as a non-Christian. It also makes me advocate even stronger and more loudly for our mutual students who are in different religions or none at all.
     
  36. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Precisely, cat. From what I know of you, if you're being made uncomfortable, coworkers of yours are even more uncomfortable. That's unacceptable in the context.
     
  37. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    No one at my site has an email signature. My principal & I don't, either.

    A few years ago, I had an email signature & quote. The quote read: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
     
  38. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Why? Has he said or done anything in his interactions with you to actually make you feel judged or is this all about your perception?

    Note: Of course, I think you have the right to feel judged. But, I don't think it's fair to say someone is judging you for something when you do not know their true intent. Just my :2cents:.
     
  39. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Bible quotes posted in the classroom of a public school *should* bother you. It should bother Christian teachers, as well as those of other faiths.

    Suppose you had a class divided 50% between male and female, and all over you had quotes about how great boys are (and none about girls)? Even if you're a male teacher, that should bother you -- it would say to all the girls in the class that they don't matter, are not deserving of mention, etc.. If you post Bible quotes, you're doing essentially the same thing.

    Such quotes might be okay in an all-boys school, I suppose, and Bible quotes would be fine in a religious school.

    Oh, I can just imagine the reaction I'd get if I put a Bible verse in my email signature followed by, "The Bible, a work of historical fiction"
     
  40. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    The right to complain to Admin? I guess so. Why not?
     
  41. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Why? Because you said it should?

    If this doesn't bother me, it just doesn't. If there is anything I find offensive, it is that you are telling me that I am wrong in how I feel. Talk about judgemental.
     
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