Christian bullies: Public school officials in a rural western Louisiana school promote Christianity and harass non-Christian students, violating at once both the US Constitution and simple human decency.
The Atlantic reports teachers at Negreet High School in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, preach Creationism and mock the theory of evolution, routinely lead their students in Christian prayer, give extra credit for Christian responses to assignments, and actively question or deride the religious beliefs of non-Christian students and parents.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of two parents, Scott and Sharon Lane, and their three children, including their son, C.C., who is a Buddhist of Thai heritage.
According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, C.C enrolled in Negreet High School, which serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, earlier this year as a sixth-grader and quickly became the target of harassment by school staff.
The ACLU reports:
His science teacher, Rita Roark, repeatedly taught students that the Earth was created by God 6,000 years ago, that evolution is “impossible,” and that the Bible is “100 percent true.”
Roark also regularly features religious questions on her tests such as “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” When C.C. did not write in Roark’s expected answer, “LORD,” she belittled him in front of the rest of the class. While studying other religions, Roark has told students that Buddhism is “stupid.”
When Plaintiffs objected, Sabine Parish Superintendent, Sara Ebarb, told them that “this is the Bible belt.” She suggested that C.C. should “change” his faith or transfer to another district school 25 miles away where, in her words, “there are more Asians.” Ultimately, C.L.’s parents did transfer him to another school to protect him, but school officials at that school also unconstitutionally promote religion.
The ACLU also reports the school regularly incorporates official Christian prayer into class and school events. School officials display religious iconography through hallways and classrooms, including a large portrait of Jesus Christ, and an electronic marquee in front of the school scrolls Bible verses as students enter the building.
NOLA.com reports the school’s motto, once “We believe that God exists,” has now been removed from the website and replaced with a statement that says, “Our students are more than just a number…they are family.”
Yahoo news calls the actions on the part of teachers and administrators “comically unconstitutional.” And indeed, there is something comical about the outrageous nature of the flagrant violations. Yet ultimately it is child abuse, and there is nothing funny about a young impressionable mind being forced to endure such harassment and forced indoctrination from Christians bullies.
No child should be the victim of religious discrimination in our nation’s schools. If you agree, go sign the ACLU Action petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to launch an immediate investigation into unlawful religious discrimination in Sabine Parish public schools.