This is a guest post by Jessica Ahlquist. Jessica is a Junior at Cranston High School West.
As my last blog post for Friendly Atheist, I wanted to write about my experiences in 7th grade with a creationist teacher who was actively teaching intelligent design in the classroom.
His name was Mr. Gamba and he was the technology teacher at my middle school, Western Hills. On my first day of class, I was super excited (because I’m cool like that). Anyway, that first day he started to teach us about “OOPARTS” or “out of place artifacts.” As a curious, nerdy, 12 year old with no idea that her teacher was preaching lies, I was extremely interested.
He showed us a “flawless crystal skull” and Egyptian hieroglyphs of airplanes. At one point, he actually said something along the lines of, “it really makes you question what they teach you in your history and sciences classes, doesn’t it?”
I ran through the door from school that day freaking out with excitement to show my dad what I had learned. I gave him my notes and as he looked them over, his face fell. In fact, he looked angry. We went online and we googled more OOPARTS because my homework assignment was to research and print up an article about an out of place artifact to share with the class the next day.
As we looked, my dad started to get angrier. He said “Jess, this guy is a young-Earther.” I stared at him blankly, not knowing what he was talking about. He said, “He’s trying to teach you guys religious lies about the age of the Earth.”
At that point, I felt really betrayed. I had liked Mr. Gamba and his class. I found OOPARTS to be very fascinating. It felt like Santa Clause all over again. I really hate being lied to.
So my father called him. He called and asked him quite frankly if he was a Creationist. Guess what? He said yes. He tried to defend his preaching by saying that the curriculum allowed for some wiggle room.
That. Is. Bullshit.
And when I look back on it now, I feel really angry about it. How dare he? How dare he lie to impressionable children and contradict the good science being taught in real science classes? How dare he get a teaching degree and get paid with taxpayer money to teach their kids his own religious mumbo jumbo? How DARE he ignore and violate the Constitution to preach his own unscientific beliefs?
It really disgusts me. I want Mr. Gamba told that he must either teach real science and technology, or not be allowed to teach in a public school. You can’t spew pseudo-science in a public school classroom. End of story.
So you’re probably wondering: has he stopped since my dad talked to him? No. According to my little cousin, he’s still at it, teaching his lies. It just goes to show how backwards this country is, and in particular, the education. Think about all of the kids who have ever had dear Mr. Gamba as a teacher, but no smart father at home. Think about how many students have gone through his class and ate the lies right up. One guy, in one school, can do a lot of damage. Imagine all the damage all of the fake teachers in the country and world are doing. They’re targeting kids, those creepers.
I don’t tell this story to make everyone feel sad and hopeless. I’m trying to express a need for support of the education in this country and really the whole world. I see awareness as the first step in progress.