Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Ugh! Ugh! Ugly News!
Ugh! And UGLY!
"Suppose that you are the parent of a 2nd-grader attending public school. Your child and his or her classmates are playing on the playground shortly before lunch. One of the children asks your child if he or she goes to church, and your child says no. Your family does not attend church because you do not believe in gods. Pretty straightforward, isn't it? Just one problem: the classmate who hears this from your child takes offense and complains to a playground supervisor who reports the incident to a teacher.
This is the point in the story where things take a dark turn. The teacher asks your child if he or she told a classmate that he or she does not believe in gods. Your child says yes. The teacher then interrogates your child about his or her religious beliefs, the religious practices of your family, and whether he or she "believed that maybe God exists." After all of this, the teacher segregates your child from the rest of the class for three days, making him or her sit alone during lunch and prohibiting him or her from interacting with the other students.
Unfortunately, the situation I've just described is not hypothetical. According to reporting by Rebecca S. Green in The Journal Gazette, this is what has been alleged in a federal lawsuit brought by the parent of a 2nd-grade boy against a teacher at Forest Park Elementary School in Indiana. The suit, filed by the ACLU of Indiana, alleges that the teacher violated the constitutional rights of this student. If the allegations described in this article provide an accurate depiction of events as they unfolded, it sounds as though the teacher must have decided that the hurt feelings reported by one of the boy's classmates were sufficient grounds to publicly shame the boy.
According to court documents, the boy is now anxious and fearful about school, believing many teachers and students hate him and some classmates will not talk to him."
Something similar to this happened to my grandson when he was 12 years old. His public school teacher told her students to raise their hands if they read the Bible every day. Everyone except my grandson raised his/her hands. My grandson and his family are not believers. I suppose he could have raised his hand so he wouldn't have stood out as the only child who does not read the Bible, but my grandson is not a liar or a deceiver. Naturally, all the other kids, even the teacher, in the class shunned and made fun of my grandson. He wasn't one of them, so shaming was his punishment. And yes, children can be crueler than adults. My grandson learned a valuable lesson that day, which today, as a young man, reinforces his and his family's decision to not embrace religion.
He and his family (and I) understand that not all religious people are mean and judgemental, but there are many who are, and the news report above of the 7-year old who was shamed for telling the truth about his nonbelief is an example of how honesty is rewarded with cruelty by some vindictive religious people.
In other ugly news:
Parents Sue Officer Who Handcuffed Mentally Disabled Kids
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Aug 3, 2015, 7:19 PM ET
Associated Press Two northern Kentucky women have sued a county sheriff and one of his school resource officers for placing their two disabled elementary school children in handcuffs.
The handcuffs were too large to fit around the wrists of the 8-year-old boy and the 9-year-old girl, both of whom have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are identified in court documents only by their initials. School Resource Officer Kevin Sumner put the handcuffs around the children's biceps, locking their arms behind them. A video of one of the incidents shows the 8-year-old boy struggling and crying while sitting in a chair.
Do any of the adults who are paid to teach or deal with children receive any training or have any understanding of how to interact with them? When I read what was done to the two mentally challenged children in a grammar school in Kentucky, I felt as though I were back in 19th century Dickensian London, reading about adults abusing children!
There's nothing wrong with the kids, it's the teachers and others who need to grow up and learn that children are not small adults and should not be treated like criminals for what they believe or because of mental disorders.
We can only hope that the ACLU and the parents of these wronged children prevail in court and that the public school authorities who mete out these draconian punishments learn their lessons.