No Obligation to Protect Those Deviant Atheist High School Students?

Today on WWJTDJT relates the details of a letter the Secular Student Alliance received from a high school teacher bragging about how he and his fellow Christian teachers thwarted some of their students who were attempting to start an SSA group. From the teacher’s letter:

When beliefs are far from what is considered the norm you should have the expectation that you will be judged.  Also, in any society the few are sometimes required to participate in the activities of the masses if they do not want to be ostracized.


Educational staff has the responsibility of preparing students to be responsible adults.  We expect all students to be treated with respect.  We are not, however, obligated to protect those who choose to be deviants in society.


A welcoming environment is what we should not create.  Satan should not be comfortable in God’s world.  You say they should develop their own world view when you really want them to  adopt your world view.  The book they need to read for information is the Bible.  Nontheism should not be spoken of in a tone of acceptance.


Obviously, I would not want to help students down the wrong path.  A group tried to form at our school.  It was from one of those students that I received this brochure.  Not surprisingly, they could not get a teacher to sponsor the club.  As educators we are dedicated to conveying the truth to students.  If the students are proud of believing there is no God they should not feel like they have to hide it.  They should not feel the need for a safe haven.

Go to What Would JT Do to learn about how JT tracked down the teacher who wrote this letter, despite its author’s attempt to omit identifying information, and read the letter JT sent to the teacher’s administration explaining their legal obligations to them.

And donate to the Secular Student Alliance so that they have the resources to continue to stand up for the rights of non-theistic students.

And learn more about the laws high school students, faculty, and administrations are beholden to follow by reading the interview JT gave to me on this topic in June.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.