Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Teacher Shames A Seven-Year-Old For Not Believing In God

Once again we have someone in this country that apparently does not understand what Separation of Church and State means, and has used her position as a public school teacher to berate a student about his religious beliefs.

Oh, and the student was a seven-year-old.

And so now, Forest Park Elementary School teacher Michelle Meyer is facing a First Amendment lawsuit after being accused of "interrogating the child as to his beliefs and requiring the child to sit by himself during lunch and not talk to his classmates during lunch for three days.” 

It all started when the student — called A.B. in the lawsuit —t old another student that he didn’t go to church and didn’t believe in God. Well, that student ran to Michelle Meyer and told her what she’d heard, and Meyer then asked A.B. if he went to church with his family, and if his mother knew about his beliefs.

Meyer told him she was very concerned about what he had done and that she was going to contact his mother; I guess telling a fellow student you don’t go to church requires a parent teacher conference, though, apparently, Meyer never contacted the boy’s mother.

From the lawsuit:
"[A.B] was publicly shamed and made to feel that his personal beliefs were terribly wrong. [He] came home from school on multiple occasions crying saying that he knows that everyone at school — teachers and students — hate him … The defendant’s actions caused great distress to A.B. and resulted in the child being ostracized by his peers past the three-day ‘banishment.'"
Forest Park Elementary released its own statement:
"It is clear that it is not the province of a public school to advance or inhibit religious beliefs or practices. Under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, this remains the inviolate province of the individual and the church of his/her choice. The rights of any minority, no matter how small, must be protected.”
What is wrong with some people? I mean, as a person who is relatively new to the South, to the Bible Belt, I have often been asked where I worship, and when I respond that I don’t go to church, I often get That Look … that disapproving look. But I’m a grown man and I can take care of myself; I can explain why I believe what I believe and that’s how I should be.

But for a teacher to shame a child, and really, what she did by ostracizing him from his classmates amounts to bullying, because he simply answered a question truthfully is just irresponsible and reprehensible. Michelle Meyer should not be teaching at a public school if her concern for a child’s religious training causes her to reprimand children who are atheist or agnostic, or just don’t go to church because their parents don’t want them in church.

Separate church and state, Michelle, or get out of teaching.
Photo source

6 comments:

Michael Dodd said...

One suspects this sort of thing goes on under the radar all the time, and perhaps not only in the Bible Belt. As you say, those of us who are adults have a number of ways of responding that are not available to a child confronted, even gently, by an authority figure. One of my favorites is to use a line from Miss Manners: "I can't believe you would ask such a personal question," followed by a soft laugh.

If, as sometimes happens, the questioner persists, I have found that saying that my beliefs about God are something I consider too personal to discuss, thank you.

Bob Slatten said...

@Michael
I love that Miss Manners response. I'll file it away for future use!

Susan said...

thank you, Michael!

the dogs' mother said...

Happened here in the PNW but a child told Youngest
that. Where did the child get the idea? Yup the parents.
Luckily they moved to Tennessee soon... may they have
gotten Joy for a teacher!

anne marie in philly said...

beeyotch needs to be fired from the public school! then she can go teach in a religious school.

Helen Lashbrook said...

Michelle Meyer should not be teaching full stop, whether in the public school system or in a private school where her urge to bully might be condoned