There have been a couple of updates on Forest Heights Community School senior William Swinimer, the Nova Scotia student who wore a shirt reading “Life is Wasted without Jesus” and got in trouble for it.
He returned to school today after his five-day suspension — wearing the same shirt — but his father quickly pulled him out:
John Swinimer said he wants Forest Heights Community School in Chester Basin, Lunenburg County, to only teach the basic courses, leaving religion out of it.
“He will not attend this school unless they are having reading, writing and arithmetic — good old-fashioned academics,” he said, waving a New Testament bible. “When they’re having forums, when they’re having other extra-curricular activity, he will not attend that school.”
Actually, the school was doing just fine academically… they only got derailed into this controversy after shirt-wearing William began pushing his religion on everyone in sight. (More on that in a moment.)Or, you know, maybe the father just hates Chess Club.
John Swinimer is referring to the fact that the school held voluntary — Wait, voluntary?! Yes, voluntary! — discussions about how to express one’s beliefs in a respectful way. The discussions involved “facilitators from the education and justice departments, human rights commission, school board and the school.”
As a teacher of a subject John Swinimer considers “good old-fashion academics,” I guarantee you the students at that school would have learned more by attending that conversation about expressing yourself respectfully than any one day spent in another class.
But why teach your child something useful when you can use him as a political pawn? Taking him out of school just reinforces the idea that many Christians are unable to discuss faith in a calm, rational way. It’s their way or nothing.
More stories are coming out about the shirt-wearing son’s behavior:
Students said William Swinimer has been preaching and making them feel uncomfortable, and the shirt was the last straw so they complained.
“He’s told kids they’ll burn in hell if they don’t confess themselves to Jesus,” student Riley Gibb-Smith said.
Katelyn Hiltz, student council vice-president, agreed the controversy didn’t begin with the T-shirt.
“It started with him preaching his religion to kids and then telling them to go to hell. A lot of kids don’t want to deal with this anymore,” she said.
More and more, it looks like this controversy was never about infringing on anyone’s religious freedom. The school did what any school should do — they allowed William the chance to express his religious views until they felt it crossed the line into becoming a distraction from good old-fashioned academics. Then they put a stop to it.
The other day, I was a little more sympathetic toward him. Now, he just strikes me as a little jerk. And I can tell where he gets it from.
Also, seriously, William… wash that shirt. It’s gotta be nasty by now.