Grandmother Demands Resignation of Elementary School Teacher Who (Supposedly) Told Her Grandson That There’s No God

In Anderson County, Tennessee, the grandmother of an elementary school student is furious because she claims a teacher told her grandson’s class that there’s no God:

Grandmother Lois Sanders

The incident happened at North Clinton Elementary School last week.

6 News is not identifying the teacher because she is not being reprimanded for what she said.

Lois Sanders says her grandson came home last Wednesday upset about what a teacher had said at school.

“There wasn’t a God,” said Sanders. “They shouldn’t believe in him. It’s just a Greek myth.”

“Whether you believe in, or you don’t believe in it, you know, that’s your own personal belief, but don’t go and try to teach other parents’ children, grandchildren your beliefs,” said Sanders. “That’s no place in school for doing that.”

Let’s get a few things straight.

No one knows what the teacher said. The teacher hasn’t said publicly what she said. Is it possible this happened as stated? Sure. But keep in mind there was no recording. We’re going off of a child’s interpretation of what she said. It’s entirely plausible, based off of that last quotation, that the teacher was referring to Greek myths and how those stories don’t mesh with reality (as opposed to modern Christian myths, which also don’t mesh with reality, but that’s besides the point).

We even have more context:

“We did have a situation where a teacher was explaining about the solar system and a question came up of how it was created,” said [director of Clinton City Schools] Dr. [Vicki] Violette. “She did share that we have the Big Bang theory. We have the God theory. I think in that conversation that there were some things that were miscommunicated and the students went home and shared that with the parents.”

If I were the principal of the school, here’s what I’d do: Speak with the teacher and find out what she said, in her own words. If it’s warranted, offer her a better way to answer that sort of question in the future so that there’s less of a chance anyone would take it the wrong way. Maybe bring both sides together and chat about what happened and how to fix things in the future. Problem solved.

If she actually told the students there’s no God, we have a much more serious issue. I have no sympathy for any teacher who pushes a religious agenda of any kind in the classroom, even if it’s an atheist one. But if this was just a misunderstanding, then there’s no reason to make too big a deal about it. The parents and teacher need to have a good working relationship for the sake of their child and beginning the school year like this won’t help anybody, so it’s best to make amends quickly.

How does that sound, Ms. Sanders?

I would like for her resignation,” said Sanders. “She stepped way over the line.”

Sanders says her son, the child’s father, is thinking about filing a lawsuit against the school system about what the teacher said.

A lawsuit against the school based off of a child’s interpretation of what a teacher may or may not have said. That’ll go over real well…

Reader Richard says that he would resign if he were the teacher and he told a kid, accidentally or not, that God doesn’t exist… but only on one condition: All teachers and administrators (including football coaches) who tell their students that God does exist also have to resign.

I would agree to that compromise in a second.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.