In 2006, Matthew LaClair was a student in the Kearny High School history classroom of David Paszkiewicz.
Matthew heard his teacher making some very unusual statements about Christianity:
From Sept. 13-15, the class was told that all the biblical prophecies have come true, dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark and all nonChristians belong in hell. He also dismissed evolution and the big bang as nonscientific in favor of biblical creationism, while mocking teachers and scientists who develop and teach these scientific ideas. He said, “I don’t need to go out and slaughter Muslims, I just need to debate them and they’re done.” He said that if his son told him that he did not want to go to church, he would “break his backside, and have a little attitude adjustment.” Meanwhile, when a student told Mr. Paszkiewicz about his own religious beliefs that he got from his mother and his pastor, Mr. Paszkiewicz’s response was “don’t buy it.” Not only was he often hypocritical, but what I have told you is the tip of a very large iceberg.
Matthew was smart and brought a recorder to class — he got this all on tape. When the teacher was confronted with the material, he denied it (of course). But the evidence was irrefutable.
When the Kearny School Board finally acted on this information, they didn’t punish the teacher — instead they made a new rule prohibiting students from recording their teachers without permission.
Eventually, faced with the threat of a lawsuit they would surely have lost, the school board settled. Speakers were sent to the school to talk about science and religion in the context of separation of church and state.
Why do I bring all this back up?
Paszkiewicz is back in the news for promoting his personal religious views to public school students:
According to Secular Student Alliance board member Matthew LaClair, Mr. David Paszkiewicz attempted to utilize school funds and equipment to promote a student group field trip to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. The trip is scheduled to take place June 5- 7. If not for LaClair’s whistle-blowing, school funds and equipment would have been used for the trip.
Since the 2007 case, Paszkiewicz has become the faculty advisor for a religious student group at Kearny High School. Alpha & Omega is the group going on the field trip, originally scheduled during the school day, and Paszkiewicz will serve as chaperone.
The “Educational rationale for the trip,” as written on a field trip request form signed by Paszkiewicz, was that “students will be exposed to the science behind Creationism.” Despite the school district’s prior church-state legal challenges, the Kearny High School administration approved the trip on the same day it was submitted.
The trip is still on-schedule, but it will now take place outside of school hours.
I’m amazed that no other students at Kearny HS have the courage to stand up to this teacher. How about the Science department at the school?
However. I am glad my friend and fellow SSA board member Matthew is still being vigilant about this cause years after he has graduated from the high school. Without people like him, these kinds of religious trips would be occurring without anyone even noticing.
(via Secular Student Alliance)