With all the debate over whether what teacher Jerry Buell did was permissible or not, here’s a clear cut case of what a public school teacher should not do.
This particular teacher didn’t even hand those bracelets out. She put them directly on the kids.
According to the pictured student’s father, this wasn’t just one teacher’s attempt to proselytize. It’s appears to be a district-wide problem:
Looks like my… kids… all had the Team-Impact assembly at their schools last week.
His kids attend elementary and middle school, by the way.
(Incidentally, Team Impact brags on their website about how they get into public schools.)
The father says he is going to speak to school officials today. He’s purposely not giving away the name of the teacher because this he thinks she’s very good at her job but just didn’t know any better in this situation — it seems like a systemic problem, anyway, not an issue with a particular individual. I’m guessing they’ll give him the runaround, though, and when that occurs, I happen to know a few good lawyers…
I would find it hard to believe that not a single district official knew that this is a Christian group whose main goal is to draw kids to Jesus. Even if the assemblies in question were Jesus-free, the website and organization sure as hell aren’t — the event that the bracelets referred to even took place in a church.
What can you do right now?
The superintendent’s name is D.C. Machen, Jr. His contact information is on this page (and his number is (318) 549-5003 in case that page mysteriously disappears).
Write him a message expressing your concern about what’s going on. Tell him why Team Impact has no business entering these schools, regardless of their message. Tell him about the importance of church/state separation — and the legal ramifications if the school chooses to ignore it. Tell him that there are plenty of groups that can provide inspiration for students without resorting to religion. Above all, be respectful in your message. I know you know this already, but you’re not going to help the situation by swearing and calling him names.
Let him know you want to see the district put out a public statement 1) apologizing for what they did and 2) ensuring the public that Team Impact and other Christian ministries will not be brought back for school-sponsored events in the future.
***Update***: The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been alerted.
(Thanks to Al for the link)