Parent Removes Children from School because Atheists Set Up Table During Lunch

Last month, students at Larkin High School in Elgin, IL took part in Ask An Atheist Day by setting up a couple tables in their cafeteria with permission from the principal.

When I posted about the event a few weeks ago, one local paper quoted a crazy parent:

“They were here to talk about atheism,” said Shavon Stanback of Elgin. “That’s totally unacceptable to me.”

She continued: “I’m a Christian woman. I believe in God. I believe in heaven and hell.”

Now, there’s another article featuring the atheists — specifically, in the larger context of how students are allowed to set up tables during lunch at the school to raise money for their causes, recruit for the military, or promote their religious viewpoints. And once again, the same damn parent is quoted.

She’s even crazier this time.

Shavon Standack of Elgin told The Courier-News her son and niece, both Larkin students, were so upset by the booth, her husband signed them out of school for the rest of the day.

“They were telling students God is fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

Umm… teachers have nothing to do with this. The students were simply answering the questions of students who voluntarily came up to them. And the atheists were right. It’s part of a healthy discourse and I’m proud the school supported the students’ right to make it happen.

Anyway, if she’s going to pull her kids out of school anytime other students express a non-Christian point of view, I pity the moment her kids step out of the bubble she wants to trap them in.

No wonder the papers love going to her — she keep opening her mouth to spew nonsense.

At least the principal, Dr. Jon Tuin, kept a level head about it:

Tuin said he spoke to a few students who seemed upset by the table and assured them, “If I can allow you to do the same thing, I have to allow them.”

“We have clubs that set up tables all the time. We have a couple Christian groups. They get to set up a table.”

That’s all the atheists want: the same opportunity all the religious groups get. Regardless of how much it bothers some Christianity-obsessed parent.

  • Synapse

    Prediction:
    Within 90 days, the school / school board will move to terminate allowing student groups to setup tables at all.

    When it comes to a level playing field – ff those evil Atheists can play on it… time to burn down the playing field and salt the earth.

  • Allison

    Sadly, I think you’re likely correct, Synapse. And then, they wonder why we get our collective panties in a wad over things like NDP. SIGH.

  • myownpersonalvenus

    “If I can allow you to do the same thing, I have to allow them.”

    wow, i don’t like this remark. he “has to allow them.” How about he wants to allow them, because he’s an american and he values free speech and alternative views?

  • KimchiGUN

    I say this OVER AND OVER again. If you want your kids in a religious school go pay for it.

    Our schools to be non biased period.

    Also if you allow religious views in schools do not discriminate. Allow it all.

  • http://www.travisjmorgan.com Travis Morgan

    Apparently the parents don’t have as much faith as they’d like us to believe. So little that a tiny “ask and atheist” booth scares them because it might cause their kids to “think” and possibly doubt their parents suggestions that they only need faith.

  • Casimir

    Atheists are never threatened by the presence of Christians.

    Christians are (usually) horrified by the presence of atheists.

    What does that tell us?

  • Rich Wilson

    The other night I watched “What’s the Matter with Kansas” on Hulu.

    There was a scene in which a Christian is about to go away to a secular college (Patrick Henry) and is asking for prayers. The mother of another teen is explaining to the camera what a challenge it is for Christians to go to a secular college, and how 80% of them lose their faith.

    I’m thinking, “Uh huh, and?”

  • John Small Berries

    Pretty much what I was going to say, Travis. If the thought of just talking to an atheist is so threatening to her worldview, she must not have much faith in the efficacy of her own beliefs.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Good for this principal for understanding and supporting equal treatment.

  • Karen

    I pity the moment her kids step out of the bubble she wants to trap them in.

    Most fundie Christian parents are well aware of the danger of letting the kids out of the bubble.

    I know some who will only allow their kids to go to Christian colleges, and the goal is for them to meet their spouse there, so they can go directly into a Christian marriage.

    Obviously letting your kids around others who don’t believe exactly as you do is a threat to them staying in the fold.

    Christian is about to go away to a secular college (Patrick Henry)

    BTW, the Patrick Henry college that I’m familiar with is indeed a Christian college. Maybe it was a different one in the anecdote above? Or maybe parents are even worried that their kids may be exposed to different views at a Christian college.

  • Ninjapino

    Does she remind anyone else of the parents in Dead Poet’s Society a bit?

  • Megan

    We should all bombard that principal with atheist fan-mail!! Seriously. I’m writing a letter of gratitude today. Imagine how awesome it would be for him to get supportive, friendly thank-yous from atheists when you know he’s being bombarded by asinine christians every day.

  • Rich Wilson

    BTW, the Patrick Henry college that I’m familiar with is indeed a Christian college. Maybe it was a different one in the anecdote above? Or maybe parents are even worried that their kids may be exposed to different views at a Christian college.

    I think a little more of the latter. I’ll check again tonight and try to get a direct quote, but I’m pretty sure it was ‘The’ Patrick Henry University. Although when the student was asked, he said he wasn’t sure, but thought it was ‘Conservative’. Just looking at the website now, it seems pretty Christian to me. Maybe they were hoping for Liberty U?

  • Hazor

    To talk about bubbles… The family of my father’s brother has some 14+ children. Homeschooled, raised attending an extremely conservative church (no clapping, no music but hymns, no women wearing slacks, that kind of thing), no television in the house, limited computer usage. Their oldest became of college age a few years ago, and my mother informed me that she was doing a nursing program online.. My cousins may as well be Amish children with how isolated they are from the world at large, and reality itself.

    Assuming she stayed with the nursing degree program, she should have graduated by now. I’m scared to imagine the mental harm she has probably suffered if she has since gotten a job, thereby stepping outside of the bubble.

    As for the topic at hand.. I’m glad the principal is being rational about the matter. It irks me hearing of the school officials who try to force religion where it is illegal to do so.

  • GregfromCos

    I’m amazed by how people can read her responses, and not realize what she is doing is pure unadulterated brainwashing.

    I too hope that the Principal does not cave. Open discussion is a wonderful thing. Its good for both the Christians and Atheists to be challenged in what they hold true. It forces all to better understand things, and learn how to explain their beliefs.

    I so wish I would have been exposed to this when I was that age! I feel like I’m speaking for all of those Christian kids who, like myself, were simply never exposed to the possibility that their was no God.

  • Rich Wilson

    My mistake. The young man asking for prayer is going somewhere ‘Conservative’ but ‘not sure if it’s Christian’. He then asks about Patrick Henry, sort of implying that the young woman he’s talking to wants to go there. This is at 36:30

    at 1:06:00 she’s packing for Patrick Henry, and the ‘request for prayer’ comes up (him asking her via a letter he leaves)

    The Patrick Henry student’s mom:

    ’cause he’d really like to go out to that college, and that’s what he wanted the prayer for, because a secular college is really hard for a Christian to be in. The evolution. A lot of the professors are antagonistic towards Christians, so 80% of them leave their faith, by the time they get out of the colleges. Secular colleges.

  • TheJBW

    Sounds like Dr. Jon Tuin has his head screwed on straight. Every school has its idiot parents — it’s the administration that counts.

  • Sean Santos

    “They were telling students [Vishnu] is fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

    “They were telling students God is fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

    “They were telling students [Xenu] is fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

    “They were telling students [Jesus] is fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

    “They were telling students [karma] is fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

    “They were telling students [Mohammad was a] fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

    “They were telling students [evolution] is fake, their parents are lying to them,” Standack said. “The students are up there, arguing with them, and the teachers are allowing this to go on.”

    Nope, no religious privilege here at all. All of these statements would sound equally reasonable to the American populace, who clearly don’t have a bias regarding monotheistic beliefs.

    *eyeroll*

  • pjb863

    Maybe someone here can answer this, because I’ve always kind of wondered about it. If a child is raised in a xtian bubble, as alluded to above, and, perhaps home-schooled, and sent to an exclusively thoroughly xtian university, what happens when they come into contact with the “real” world, where not everyone thinks the same as they do? Do they have a rude awakening? The example above of a home-schooler, enrolling in an online nursing program would be a prime example – sooner or later, that nursing student is going to have to do some hands on nursing, which might involve dealing with non-xtians, and some situations which she likely may not have even heard of prior. Was it really doing her any favor to keep her in a bubble all those years?

  • T-Rex

    Great idea Megan. I’m sending him one too.

  • Synapse

    Having been in Texas for quite some time, I can provide some experiences I’ve seen with the “stepped outside the bubble” folks:

    * Some I have experienced end up moving from job to job, frequently complaining that everyone is out to get them, wicked, evil, etc.

    * Some go crazy with the sex, drugs, alcohol and effectively “prove” how evil the world is to themselves and their family, have the intervention and effectively go back and re-create the cocoon.

    * Others “detox” for several years from the brainwashing, end up becoming estranged from their families when they won’t follow their rules anymore and a few become those extremely rabid anti-theists, speaking with an anger that comes from a deep sense of hurt.

  • SWare

    Clearly an “ask the atheist” sign is getting in the way of their indoctrination of children. Their world may come crashing down if those children are allowed to….dare I say it….ASK QUESTIONS. I’m truly sad for the kids involved.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Think of the atheist table as analogous to the child that points (in the story) and says “the Emperor has no clothes”. The crazy parent is analogous to the courtiers that want to perpetuate the charade of the Emperor wearing fancy clothes.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    The very fact that people — nice people, kids your kids go to school with — would openly call themselves atheists without shame or apology is the offense here, even if they never exchange a word with the super-Christian kids. It puts the lie to the claim that “those people” are evil — and if your church is lying about that, what else might they be telling you that’s not true?

  • Kamaka

    Shavon Standack of Elgin told The Courier-News her son and niece, both Larkin students, were so upset by the booth, her husband signed them out of school for the rest of the day.

    Those kids played the adults for suckers. Fat chance they were so traumatised by their atheist schoolmates they had to flee.

    Kid: “I can’t believe they bought it! Yes! We got out of school! Let’s go smoke some pot…”

  • Richard Wade

    pjb863, you asked,

    If a child is raised in a xtian bubble, as alluded to above, and, perhaps home-schooled, and sent to an exclusively thoroughly xtian university, what happens when they come into contact with the “real” world, where not everyone thinks the same as they do? Do they have a rude awakening?

    Yes, they do, and it’s rough. I get many letters from young people in that situation. The most common age is 22. They’re completely unprepared intellectually, socially, and emotionally, and they often lose their faith. Added to the pain of that process is a resentment against their parents and their insular home community for keeping them so uninformed, so naive, and so emotionally immature.

  • mander

    Don’t you think that ALL religious dialogue should be removed from school? Even atheism? The discourse might be something like: “Well this is what we can conclude from science.” Beyond that, allow people to come to their own conclusions.

    If you want to allow atheists to talk in schools about their beliefs in school, you have to be okay with people of all other faiths sharing as well (which I doubt would be okay with the writer of this blog). I say, lets leave it out of schools.

  • Mihangel apYrs

    I more and more weeep for the USA and its highly Xainist society! The US is wildly out of step with secular western societies and may drift away from what we consider civilisation, ending up like some of the priest-ridden societies of eastern Europe (you fucked up there Stalin!) or the mullah driven societies of the middle east.

    Many of your citizens are mired in 1500

  • http://amandamccarter.wordpress.com Amanda McCarter

    In regards to the nursing student from the Quiverfull family. I’m surprised she was allowed to continue that far with her education. Most girls from those types of families are generally married off as soon as possible so they can start having babies of their own. Maybe the nursing degree was to help the family keep further away from society by ensuring someone in the group had medical knowledge? I know that sounds extreme, but there are groups like that.

  • Richard P.

    HAha… Little kids 1pt.
    God Almighty… Got his ass kicked, by little kids.

    Got so upset had to leave school.. Fuck, where’s your rock of Gibraltar now you bunch of pussies.

  • Richard P.

    Yea, tho I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil, but put a kid, at a table, willing to be asked questions, and I will run away, shitting my pants.

  • pjb863

    I suspected as much.

    Richard Wade:

    Yes, they do, and it’s rough. I get many letters from young people in that situation. The most common age is 22.

    At a previous job, many years ago, I was given the task of mentoring a young man to become an Executive Assistant. He was, I guess, about 21 or 22, I was about 33 or 34. This was at a time when male EA’s were somewhat unusual. It was a complete challenge for me because this kid simply did not get it, even at the most basic level!

    This job is not rocket science, but his only “experience” was at his xtian college, and at his xtian church, which both of which were in a world of their own and seemed to do little to prepare him for what he would have to actually deal with. This included things like basic hygiene and grooming.

    I did what I could, but he just didn’t seem to get it! It took about three months, but after going through the Firm’s mentoring program, he washed out and was let go.

    I ran into him a few months after that and he was frustrated, angry, and couldn’t undertand why he could’t grasp the most basic things about the job requirements.

    I wonder whatever became of him.

  • Kamaka

    I wonder whatever became of him.

    Hmmm, he was surrounded by people who were far more concerned with controlling him than preparing him for life. A parenting and socialising FAIL. For him, they created the hell they so fervently believe in.

    The poor bastard was surrounded by evil masquerading as *holier-than-thou*, it’s no wonder he was clueless and lost.

  • Karen

    I’m surprised she was allowed to continue that far with her education. Most girls from those types of families are generally married off as soon as possible so they can start having babies of their own.

    This part is particularly disturbing. I know some families that don’t think young women need college at all, and that they should stay at home (under the authority of their father) until they are handed off to the authority of their husband.

    They have no chance to break free, to experience the broader world.

    If they do go to college, it’s only to Christian colleges, and to study something like music or early childhood education. Not that there’s a thing wrong with either of these fields, per se, but the idea is for them to learn skills appropriate for helping out in church (and caring for their own families).

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    It puts the lie to the claim that “those people” are evil — and if your church is lying about that, what else might they be telling you that’s not true?

    This. momma must have been saying so majorly untrue garbage about atheists (and probably everyone not white, xtian, fundie and from the right euro ethnicity) and is very worried the chick will see how much bullshit she’s made of. i would love to film a few minutes at the dinner table in that house. for a waters film.

    Hmmm, he was surrounded by people who were far more concerned with controlling him than preparing him for life. A parenting and socialising FAIL. For him, they created the hell they so fervently believe in.

    parenting fail indeed. someone explain it to me, cause i missed it. when did good parenting go away? it’s like in just 2 generations, we lost that in this country.

  • http://www.grace-filled.net jen

    Her kids are probably going to attend conservative Christian colleges where their viewpoint isn’t going to be challenged. Her attitude makes me groan inwardly because she’s what the world sees as the definition of “Christian”, not the sane ones of the flock.

  • Kris

    I am a Full-on 100% Jesus-Loving Christian and I think it`s GREAT that the principal treated the Athiests will full EQUALITY! Good for him! That`s what America is all about. ALSO, spirituality is something VERY personal to each, individual human being and ALL views should be heard 1st so the child can sincerely make-up their OWN mind. I love it! :)

  • http://www.realstreet.co.uk Stewart Cowan

    Schools are for learning the truth. “Atheism” is a minority belief which can be dismissed by studying the human condition generally and one’s own life specifically.

    Modern-day “atheism” is a religio-political movement very much like Islam. Both are detrimental to our way of life.

  • Cortex

    I love stories like this one. It shows that they recognize the kind of threat we pose to their faith, and how incapable they are of defending it in an honest fight.

  • Drew M.

    @Kris:
    Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from Christians who are respectful of others’ beliefs (or lack thereof).

  • Kamaka

    Modern-day “atheism” is a religio-political movement very much like Islam. Both are detrimental to our way of life.

    Citation needed.

    Last I checked, religion is detrimental to “our way of life”.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/curr_war.htm

  • G

    @Hazor

    There is no such thing as an online nursing program. You can get a BSN through online courses IF you ALREADY HAVE a nursing degree, but not the other way around. I wonder why your mother told you that? Perhaps she got confused?

  • gruber12

    “Modern-day “atheism” is a religio-political movement very much like Islam. Both are detrimental to our way of life.”

    I know what you mean, I cant turn the TV on without hearing about an Atheist bombing a busy area or about their groups raping children and covering it up…… hmmm doesnt sound right does it

  • awesomesauce

    Not sure about Principal Tuin’s personal beliefs, but I got the lead role in a play at Larkin once because of his son. Tuin’s son thought the story of the play violated his religious beliefs (likely catholicism) and turned down the role after one week of rehersal.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X