TeacherPreacher Back in Class

Remember History teacher David Paszkiewicz, the guy who was caught on tape preaching to his class?

Remember how the student who taped him, Matthew LaClair, got death threats from the community of Kearny, NJ?

Well, the case is (somewhat) resolved…

As of Tuesday night, there is no teaching religion in Kearny schools– The school board adopted that policy.

Sounds good, right?

Well, the teacher still has his job.

And the school adopted another another policy months ago: No tape recorders allowed in class. Unless they ask for permission.

Because that was the real problem here: The fact that the in-class sermon was taped.

As the article says, “the LaClair’s have already taken the first step to file a lawsuit.”

However, as this article notes:

The family said they would not file the civil lawsuit if the district becomes more proactive in educating its students about the separation of church and state – even suggesting an assembly that advises the students of their rights; and acknowledge that Paszkiewicz’s behavior was unacceptable.

Proactive. Yes. Good. That’s much better than MySpace death threats.

Why is the school not agreeing to this? Isn’t this one of those questions that has an obvious answer?

Fortunately, the ACLU and the People for the American Way Foundation are on Matthew’s side.

Speaking of Matthew, who is 16, read some of his quotations:

“I believe it is important to stand up for our constitutional rights and to make sure that these violations of the First Amendment, which apparently have been going on for years, are stopped once and for all.”

“My main concern is the students of the future and the future of public education.”

“Students like Mr. Paszkiewicz, and now they blame me for having a new teacher. . It’s been tough, and I have lost a lot of friends.”

This kid is amazingly articulate for his age. Dammit, Matthew, I’m your friend!

[tags]atheist, atheism, Christianity, David Paszkiewicz, Kearny High School, New Jersey, evolution, Big Bang, dinosaurs, Noah’s ark, heaven, Matthew LaClair, First Amendment[/tags]

  • Logos

    We are all your friends Matthew!

  • http://inthenuts.blogspot.com King Aardvark

    The school is being too protectionist here. I understand that teachers are often a close-knit group and that they don’t want anything bad to happen to their (apparently well liked) colleague. That said, there’s far less shame in admitting that you need to clean up your act than there is in trying to sweep it under the rug as quickly as possible. Of course, banning recording devices is just the icing on the cake – it’s hard to nail a bad teacher for anything without recording something. I’m not keen on the teacher keeping his job, but it would seem the schoolboard was always too lenient about preaching so Mr. Paszkiewicz kept pushing the religion thing (until it got to the insane comments you posted the other day – yikes). As long as he can stop preaching now then I’ll be satisfied, but somehow I doubt he’ll stop.

  • http://www.whatbox.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Me too! I’m glad the ACLU is getting involved. It is really unconscionable that this could happen in a public American classroom in 2007.

  • Patrick Craig

    I’m your friend, too, Matthew! Keep up the good fight!

  • John Bemben

    This kid is my hero. I hope that my two sons grow up to be as intelligent and courageous at Matthew LaClair.