You want to know how important the Secular Student Alliance is?
There’s an incredible testimonial on Reddit from a high school student in Oklahoma who wanted to begin an atheist group his junior year. After word about the group got out on Facebook, the student was called in to the principal’s office…
… On my way there I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was going. I walked into the office with a myriad of dirty looks directed straight towards me. I found my way to the main principal’s office when the door was slammed behind me. The first words out the principal’s mouth were “I have information that you are trying to start a school led hate group”.
Following my meetup with the principal the [faculty] sponsor we had lined up mysteriously told me that she was unable to sponsor the club. When I asked for a reason she told me that she was told it would be a very bad career move…
During this entire ordeal, the SSA was there to support him and guide him through the way.
The student is now a senior at the high school. He may not have started a group, but he says he learned a lot throughout the process:
I learned about the politics involved with the education system and that social pressure is more powerful than I thought. I also learned that no matter how far someone geographically is, they can still be there for you. Throughout this whole ordeal the staff at the Secular Student Alliance was there to talk with me and help me.
Our staff is incredible about helping students who are atheists — especially in states where that perspective is so unpopular. And it won’t be long before we seriously expand our high school outreach.
The story also stresses to me the importance of faculty sponsors for groups like these. I’ve always said to myself I wouldn’t mix my activism with my work. But after reading this, how could I possibly refuse to be the sponsor of an atheist group at my school? I couldn’t. I don’t need to wait until I have tenure to say that.
If you have the ability and desire, please consider supporting the SSA. Help us help students like this one.
(Thanks to everyone for the link!)