What Do You Do When the School is the Bully?

Via Wild Hunt, here’s the story of a family who lodged a complaint against the Sabine Parish School Board. One of the family’s children was enrolled as a sixth grader in Negreet High School, and suffered at the hands of the students and teachers for his Buddhist faith.

The father has an article up at the ACLU site:

On a science test, their teacher had included a fill-in-the-blank question: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” When my stepson didn’t know the answer (“Lord”), she belittled him in front of the entire class. When he wrote in “Lord Buddha” on another exam, she marked it wrong. As she was returning that exam to students, one student proclaimed aloud that “people are stupid if they think God is not real.” In response, my stepson’s teacher agreed, telling the class, “Yes! That is right! I had a student miss that on his test.” The entire class broke out in laughter at my stepson.

This is bad. I grew up in a dirt poor region of North Carolina, the kind of place where they’ll say they have both kinds of religion: Baptist and Methodist. Still, there was more respect for minority faiths there. The only explanation I can come up with is that there are a couple of culture warriors running this school.

Most of the rest of the post is what you’d expect: official school prayers, faculty handing out Christian literature and religious images everywhere. And oh, aren’t they proud:

I tried to point out that the “Bible Belt” was not a separate country and that we were still entitled to religious liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution. She would have none of it, however. She asked whether my stepson had to be raised as a Buddhist and even suggested that he “change” his faith to better fit in. To add insult to injury, the next day, the Superintendent sent a letter to Negreet’s principal, which he read to students over the intercom. The letter thanked Negreet’s teachers and principal for maintaining their religious values and influence in the school.

Yes, you sure stood up to that twelve year old boy. I’m sure Jesus would be thrilled.

What can you say? This is exactly why rights exist. Madison warned everyone that without some kind of check the majority would trample the minority, and they would cheerfully use the tool of the government to do it. Someone has to take away the ability of the majority to use the government as an engine for the promotion of their faith, or the whole idea of “freedom of conscience” is a sham.

The faculty at Negreet will never see it that way. I’m sure that if/when the ACLU wins the court case, the teachers will blame the “outside agitators” for coming in and forcing secular humanism down everyone’s throat.

How do you get the majority to recognize, and rectify, their own privilege? In this case, the only hope may be to force open the school to members of minority faiths and hope that exposure softens the majority a bit. They’ll regard it as an attack, but we’ve just got to press on or nothing will ever change.


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