This is why we don't have religion in schools...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Teaching Grace, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,731
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jun 20, 2008

  2.  
  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 20, 2008

    Oy vey...What was he thinking? Or was he? Even his defense is indefensible.
     
  4. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 20, 2008

    Can't believe that he would even consider doing something so irrational. This is even worse than trying to pray at school, which I wouldn't touch w/a ten foot pole!
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,606
    Likes Received:
    2,713

    Jun 20, 2008

    Did you see the quotation attributed to his buddy? "With the exception of the cross-burning episode..." he's a decent teacher (or something like that).

    Ridiculous!
     
  6. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 20, 2008

    I like to take the unpopular side on some of these stories but this one I can't believe! :rolleyes::woot:
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 20, 2008

    Wow. Let's just say - for arguments sake - that he really was just trying to demonstrate the science tool by marking the children's arms with an X opposed to a cross...like that is okay?! Geeze.
     
  8. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 20, 2008

    I agree, JustMe, I think the burning/branding may be worse than the rest! However, I'd like the whole story. Did the student volunteer? Did the class know what was happening? What was the discussion in the lesson. I don't think this will help the teacher at all (not should it), but he's painted as a religious fanatic . . . yet I am not sure if this is the context of the specific incident.

    Craziness.
     
  9. GlendaLL

    GlendaLL Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,393
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 20, 2008

    This has been in the news for a while around here.

    I have found it interesting (odd!) that this teacher seems to be so popular with the students and has a lot of supporters.
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 20, 2008

    Well, regardless of everything else, doing anything that causes physical injury to a child is absolutely indefensible. There are other ways of showing how a devise works besides "branding" a child.
     
  11. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    233

    Jun 20, 2008

    I've followed the story a bit more than the rest of you might have -- the guy is quite religious. He was originally storing his stack of Bibles in his science classroom and had the ten commandments posted on the door. He got in trouble because he refused to put his personal Bible inside his desk (he wanted to keep it on top of his desk where the students could see it). He also made statements strong in support of creationism. He may not be quite as much a fanatic as the teacher in Kearny NJ who told his Hindu students they were going to hell, but it's pretty close.
     
  12. mdith4him

    mdith4him Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 21, 2008

    This story is so sad for so many reasons. Obviously, this guy is a little over the top (and by "a little" I actually mean "a lot"). It's sad that this is the exposure to religion that these kids had. Unfortunately, I'm willing to bet that this experience for many of those kids will turn them away from religions later in life. It shouldn't be wrong to discuss religious views in schools, or just religion in general, but this (of course) is way off the deep end.
     
  13. educator

    educator Rookie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 21, 2008

    Burning a child for any reason should be prosecuted as abuse, assault and any other criminal activity you can attach to it! No excuses, no mercy, no plea bargaining. That takes care of the burning issue.

    Now, religion in public schools is an ambiguity for me. I am not religious, and I am adamantly opposed to the indoctrination of children in any religion. However, I strongly believe that the local schools should reflect the values of the people in the community. I don't quite know how I'd balance that one. Luckily for me, it's easy to follow the current guidelines at our school. It's kind of a don't ask, don't tell policy.

    Now, when my grandchildren blurt out on the playground that grammy is agnostic, and someone has to explain that to their kid, it may get sticky. Turn about is fair play, I've had to explain to a few why some people believe completely in god, heaven and hell.

    I guess my best bet is to teach in heathen communities ;)
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,548
    Likes Received:
    1,655

    Jun 21, 2008

    The worst part is that the teacher and his attorney have tried to downplay the branding of students by claiming it wasn't a cross but merely an X. WHO CARES? It's still simple assault!
     
  15. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,845
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 21, 2008

    At first, I thought this was an "article" from The Onion.

    This guy should not only not be allowed to teach, he should also not be allowed anywhere near children (or adults, for that matter).
     
  16. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 21, 2008

    We can talk about religion as long as it is not christianity.

    I had a principal once tell me to take my bible off my OFFICE desk, this was a 6' x 10' office only my desk chair and book shelves, when a student wanted to talk to me they had to put a chair outside my office in the doorway, but he said nothing about my book of Mormon, or the other Religion "over views" I had on my desk (Jehovah Witness, Buddhist, Islam, etc). (Right out of High School I was Planning to go to seminary) so this was some of my pleasure reading (lunchtime). Jehovah Witness puts out some good overviews for teachers.

    I had a young lady (7th grader) who just converted to Jehovah Witness she was trying to "Wittiness" to the worst nasty cruellest boy in the school. I ask her to stop and talk to me. well she flipped. the next day her dad was at school I explained to the Dad that my aim was to protect his daughter.... right at that moment the the "worst nasty cruellest Boy" was brought into the office by a teacher. He gave an "improv show" of his Nasty Vulgar style the dad looked at me and
    I said "that is the boy"
    he said "thank you"
    and shook my hand and told his daughter that she should apologiae to me and to listen to me.
    :sorry: if I :hijack:
    BTW I am not LDS
     
  17. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 21, 2008

    That is the "funnest" part of this sad story
     
  18. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 21, 2008

    But who's spin is it?
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 21, 2008

    He got in trouble because he refused to put his personal Bible inside his desk (he wanted to keep it on top of his desk where the students could see it).

    1. I keep the Bible on my desk...no problem. And when I inherited the room a Bible was on the student shelf of books. I guess in combination with the branding and all it matters, but in general I don't see it as a problem. But, I don't want to get this too off topic. :)
     
  20. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 21, 2008

    This is going too far.I always felt the only religion allowed in schools should be a teacher being allowed to pray that the period with an awful class would pass by quickly.
     
  21. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 21, 2008

    There's a difference between teaching about world religions and advocating one of them. You can't take Christianity out of human history...it's influenced far too much of our society. Similarly, you can't take the ancient greek religions out of history. Both of these religions played significant roles in the history of western civilizations. Students need to be informed to the extent needed to understand our history. Value judgements should be left to the parents. While I am Christian and believe in God and Jesus, my students aren't there to hear me preaching. They're there to learn math. This is my job. Teaching about religion is the job of the parents and ministers in whatever church they go to.
     
  22. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Messages:
    1,845
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2008

    Love it -- what a wonderful attitude you possess. More people, not just teachers, should adopt it! :2up:
     
  23. wig

    wig Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 22, 2008

    There are many reasons why teaching the faith in public schools is not appropriate. But this guy is not one of them. Obviously the majority of teachers faithful to their personal religions have never done this.

    Based on the accusations this person obviously overstepped his bounds. The mark he is accused of burning on the students arm should be treated as abuse or assault, whether it had something to do with this person's religious beliefs or not. However, this teacher seems to have students who think he is great and other supporters, which seems strange if he is the zealot he is portrayed.

    I do agree that a teacher's faith should not be a part of his/or her teaching, beyond modeling appropriate behaviors in the teacher's actions.

    However we DO need to teach about religion in school. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity were the cornerstones of many of the early civilizations. Buddism and Hinduism played a significant role in the Asian civilizations. In order to teach tolerance, students need to have a basic understanding of the mainstream religions around the world and their basic beliefs.
     
  24. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 22, 2008

    I'm sure that there's some kind of media spin on this article--- there always is. I don't think what he did was right (and this is coming from a dedicated Catholic Christian lady), but I know that the media likes to leave information out or twist it in some way.

    I would never demonstrate something like that on a student. Even when I observed a physics lesson where you drop a weight on a string close to your chin and when it swings back it should never hit your chin, the teacher would never have used a student (he performed it on himself and he asked me to do it as well... I was student teaching at the time). But to burn the flesh of a student??? That's crazy.... though I wonder what the other students were doing in class while this was going on and what the student who was burned was thinking/doing. I would assume that it hurt to have that done, so I'm wondering why the student just didn't ask him to stop or not even try it (though I know kids often do stupid things anyways).

    I would agree with the board in firing the teacher--- you never harm a student (the only time I think it's acceptable is in self-defense where your own life or another student's life is at risk) and you follow the curriculum you're given and teach the objectives as the school wants to be taught.

    There are many better ways on teaching students in-directly about God and Christianity. We can often make an impact just by loving each of our students--- flaws and all-- especially if they have a hard family life or lack of friends. I think that does more than trying to disprove science with Bible stories.
     
  25. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 22, 2008

    I totally agree with you--- this guy is a horrible example of what it means to be Christian and how one should share Christianity with others.

    Agreed too--- however I don't think science class is the place for learning religions. I remember back in 9th grade, we spent a day for about a week or two going through each major religion. We learned the major beliefs of the group, what their sacred text was called, where most of the believers were located, the name of their gods, etc. And even then as a Christian I wasn't offended by that and it didn't change me into something other than a Christian.

    Religious studies are fascinating and I think we should turn our students on to them--- they can lead to many other discussions such as theology and history. And I believe that there are religious schools out there that do a good job educating a student about the major subjects and about faith.

    This guy was just doing it completely wrong and in the wrong setting.
     
  26. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    724
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2008

    I am a Christian woman, I don't 'preach' to my students about it however. If they ASK me a question about religion or God or something, I'll answer them (i have highschoolers). I think if this teacher hadn't branded the student, this wouldn't be headline news. My hs biology teacher kept a Bible on her desk everyday and would tell us that she is reading it through, by the time I got there she was on her second go-round. She would read a certain amount of verses a day. No one thought anything about it, she refused to teach evolution, but didn't teach creationism either (Mind you this was about 15-16 years ago) No one said anything to her. Did she preach to us, nope she taught biology (Sometimes I think the religion would have been easier :lol:)
    I have no problem telling my students yes I go to church and yes I beleive in such and such. Do I "bring them to Jesus" no, that's not what I'm there to do. My students, actually, are more outspoken on Jesus and God and morals/values what's right and wrong in class when something happens than I am. I'm usually bringing them back to the correct topic to avoid any 'religion wars' in my class.

    ANYWAY haha..the branding is what got this fella in the news..not the fact of creationism (in my opinion)
     
  27. wig

    wig Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 22, 2008

    Well, no. I assume that Social Studies would be the appropriate place. I was speaking in generalities, not about this person teaching about religions. :)
     
  28. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 22, 2008

    I think the title of this post is amusing..."this is why we don't have religion in schools." It's like people think 'religion' is an entity in and of itself or something (no offense to the poster-- I get what you meant and I'm sure everyone else does, too) but, of course, there IS religion in schools. Because religion is simply a set of beliefs that are practiced consistently. Where people gather, religion will be there.

    Like another person who posted, I am a Christian. I listen to worship music in the morning before the kids come to class, during my planning period (at times), and after school while finishing up (when the kids have left). If a child comes in, I do not turn off the music (unless it's time for school to start or the child needs to speak with me about something). I often leave my Bible on my desk (sometimes open, sometimes not). I read my Bible to myself while the children are reading silently sometimes. I use scripture as Daily Quotes sometimes. I used a skit my daughter and I had written in class this year at Christmas time for Reader's Theater and explained that it detailed what Christians believe about the holiday. I let them know that other people believe other things. If a child asks a question about God or Creation or Christianity, I tell them "what some people believe." I had one student in my class this year who was of a religion other than Christian, and he often asked about the Christian religion and the Jewish religion. I answered with what information I had, always saying, "Christians believe" or "I have heard..." and then finishing with, "If you have spiritual questions, the best place to go is to a trusted adult in your family."
    I pray for my students regularly, but they are not in the room when I do this. I also keep a copy of "The Message" in with the books on the bookshelf.
    I would be lying if I said I didn't want to influence their spiritual lives. I want to influence them socially, intellectually, AND spiritually. By 'influence,' I don't mean brainwash or anything of the sort. I simply mean that I hope to let them see that it IS possible to live and work in society with people who don't hold the same set of beliefs as you and get along. I treat children of all faiths with respect and do not 'down' their beliefs. I do ask questions in an attempt to understand where they're coming from. I think it's important to understand one another when you're spending so much time together! But I also think it's important that the students and the teacher not be asked to pretend that 'faith' is not an integral part of who they are-- like it's something they can take off at 7:10 am and put back on as they walk out of the school doors...
     
  29. slinkytoy

    slinkytoy Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2008

    I agree with you Queenie. Our faith is a part of who we are; we can not take that out of our lives. It is important to understand our students and for our students to understand us; that includes our beliefs. We should not 'push' our beliefs on our students, but we should not try to hide it either. We are there to teach our subject, but sometimes we can use our students' beliefs to help us reach them with our class material. We can also help our students learn to respect one another which is very important in today's society!
     
  30. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    233

    Jun 23, 2008

    The "burning" is, I suspect, somewhat overstated. There was an investigation done; it's available online:

    The investigation does note that the manufacturer advises never to do the procedure done by Freshwater, but obviously this type of use is not generally excessively painful.

    I find Freshwater's religious proselytization more troubling. He was rather forceful about it. The report notes that teachers of subsequent grades complained about having to reteach science.

    I don't think teachers need to hide their religion. However, even if a student asks directly, you can't necessarily answer sensitive questions in class. You do give up some freedom of speech when you enter a classroom. Students give up less freedom than teachers (so students can legitimately do things teachers can't). The idea that you lose some FOS as a teacher may bother you, but only because of the specific content here. You lose a lot of FOS that you barely think to question. For example, you lose the right to use many swear words, you lose the right to advocate racism or certain types of sexism, you lose the right to state your opinions on specific student's medical problems, etc., in that context.

    So, when a teacher states that they don't believe they've done anything wrong by keeping a Bible on their desk, they're just stating their opinion. And, of course it's their opinion that it's justified, because otherwise they wouldn't do it.
     
  31. wig

    wig Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 23, 2008

    Thank you very much for posting the link. It clarifies many things.
     
  32. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,007
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 23, 2008

    After reading the investigation report Sounds like the teacher is just too stubborn for his own good
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 208 (members: 2, guests: 182, robots: 24)
test