Public school teacher tells class: “You belong in hell”

This story, which I reported on my blog on Sunday, has hit the mainstream media today, with stories in the Newark Star-Ledger, The Jersey Journal, and forthcoming on NYC-area radio and television (WCBS radio, 1010 WINS radio, and Fox 5 News and NBC 4 News television).

The basic story is that Kearny High School U.S. History teacher David Paszkiewicz used his classroom as a pulpit for evangelizing, as well as telling students that evolution and the Big Bang are false, there were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark, and that the Bible is supported by confirmed prophecies. When student Matthew LaClair took this issue to the school principal, Paszkiewicz denied that he had said these things. LaClair then handed over two audio CDs, at which point Paszkiewicz declined any further comment except to tell LaClair, “you got the big fish… you got the big Christian guy who is a teacher!”

The newspapers have confirmed the content of the audio CDs and observed that there is no dispute that Paszkiewicz is the voice speaking on them.

School Superintendent Robert Mooney has said that corrective action would be taken, but declined to say what that will be–and he added that Pasziewicz is “a wonderful teacher.” Paszkiewicz is still teaching his class as of yesterday.

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  • Malcolm Kirkpatrick

    The teacher was stupid. US History has enough material that a teacher determined to push a Christian, materialist, socialist, or libertarian bias can do so, with a careful selection of 100% factual material. Some years ago the sociologist David Reisman __The Lonely Crowd__ recommended removing Social Studies from the pe-college curriculum entirely, as some teachers cannot resist the temptation to indoctrinate (remember Jay Bennish?). It seems to me that policies which give to parents the power to determine which institution, if any, shall receive the taxpayers’ K-12 education subsidy would limit the problem.

  • Jim Lippard

    I think you’re right about the ability to use selective bias for many positions on the basis of completely factual material. From what I’ve read about Bennish (I’ve seen a partial transcript of the offending class and read the Wikipedia article), it seems he wasn’t as bad as Paszkiewicz since he encouraged students to question, though he clearly exhibited considerable bias (and made a number of factual misstatements). He was punished by being put on leave for a week (presumably paid leave). (His father received at least a dozen death threats, according to Wikipedia.)

    I hope that Mr. Paszkiewicz receives no death threats, but I think more than a week’s leave is merited.

    I happen to agree with you that government shouldn’t be in the business of operating schools (as distinct from mandating educational standards and providing funding to allow everyone to obtain education).

  • bpabbott

    jim commented: “I hope that Mr. Paszkiewicz receives no death threats, but I think more than a week’s leave is merited”

    Peronally, I think he should terminated … not for voicing his religious views (that merits a week of unpaid leave), but for lying about it.

    Why do so many believe that lying is the only chance God has got :-(

  • Jim Lippard

    Ben, I agree. He should be terminated for lying about what he was doing in the classroom. If Kearny, NJ public schools are anything like NYC public schools, however, that may be extremely difficult for administrators to accomplish even if they have the will to do so (which it doesn’t appear that they do). See the comment from Einzige on my blog which linked to a flow chart about the steps that need to occur to fire an incompetent teacher in NYC.

  • Anonymous

    well, with so many public school teachers and profs indoctrinating students with the secular humanist liberal left party line, it almost seems like “equal time” for God and Christianity when a public school teacher does this, most teachers are brain washing kids today to become Godless pagan hedonists, and guess what? the profane,undisciplined,sexually immoral, “end product” speaks for itself.

  • Jim Lippard


    I don’t think you know what secular humanism is, based on how you’ve used the term in multiple comments today. Can you supply *any* evidence for paganism, atheism, or hedonism being advocated by public school teachers?

    When a teacher spouts left-wing biased ideology in the classroom, he gets suspended for a week (Google “Jay Bennish”–it happened earlier this year). When a teacher evangelizes to his classroom, he gets no suspension of any kind (Paszkiewicz).