Hemant highlights a story out of a child in Missouri who was allegedly yelled at by a teacher for carrying a Bible. Her mother immediately took to Facebook to launch a protest and then ran to the local TV station rather than calling the school to file a complaint and resolve the situation. The school released this statement:
“The district officials and administration are disappointed that this complaint, this accusation, was not brought to our attention. In fact, we knew nothing of this issue until we started hearing rumors on Facebook. And then late last night Channel 4 came and did a story on it. In visiting with the high school administration, nothing had been brought to their attention. Nothing had been addressed to myself. So, as always, we cannot investigate, remediate or correct an issue unless we’re aware of it.
“We encourage parents and students, if they have a concern, to please bring it to the attention of the appropriate person so we can investigate it. As far as this morning, the supposed Bible protest, I was at the building and things seemed to be very normal and routine. Everything was in place and if there was a protest I’m not aware of it. Along with that fact, we have absolutely no problem with our students bringing their Bible.
“We firmly believe in freedom of religion and students practicing their religion, their faith. If all students wish to bring their Bible, read it and practice their faith, we would have no concern with that at all. Now that we have talked to the student and the parent, we’ve taken the information and we’re going to investigate a little bit further. It may be a story that could have been taken care of quickly with communication.
There are lots and lots of these situations around the country, some involving religious students and some of the involving non-religious students. They are almost always the result of ignorance on the part of a teacher or school administrator and the vast majority of them are resolved quickly and privately. Groups like the ACLU or the FFRF send out lots of letters to schools and that usually fixes the problem. Once in a while it requires going further and filing a lawsuit. But this mother’s first response was not to try to get the situation fixed, it was to turn herself into a martyr, which isn’t actually helping her child.
If the teacher in this situation did they are accused of, they should be reprimanded for it. It was a clear violation of the child’s rights and the law. But clearly the administration was ready to do what was right if they’d been informed about it. Solving the problem is always better than exploiting it.