Religious discrimination is alive and well in America, but there ARE remedies for it!!
I am posting this for those of you who may not have heard about it. It happened this past couple of months. This link tells the initial story, and the resolution of the issue I am posting here, courtesy of Circle Sanctuary, Barneveld, WI.
For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2011
Statement from Bowdon Elementary School, Carroll County School District, and members of the Turner Family Support Task Force as represented by Lady Liberty League, North Georgia Solitaries, Covenant of the Goddess, Dogwood Local Council, and Circle Sanctuary:
The Turner Family, Task Force, and School District wants Bowdon School to be a positive, supportive environment which fosters the emotional and educational growth of all students.
With education, cooperation, and open dialogue, all things are possible.
At times, a lack of life experience and/or other circumstances can make it difficult to perceive how words and actions might cause offense or upset. The parties involved acknowledge that words and deeds can be hurtful even without the intent of making them so.
In an effort to reach a positive and collaborative resolution to recent events, an alliance of the parties involved has come to pass which will set the stage for future education for school staff, students, and parents on the topic of equality and respect for all students and families in the Carroll County School System.
First, a sincere apology for recent events and misunderstandings has been given by School Administration and accepted by the family.
Second, the Bowdon Elementary School guidance Counselor will educate staff and students about honoring and accepting the differences that make us individuals.
Third, procedures have been put in place to ensure classroom activities don't alienate students. As part of this, the administration and teachers will have yearly training about the District's Code of Ethics and the responsibilities of each staff member to preserve the integrity of every students' rights.
We appreciate the hard work and open dialogue of all the parties involved to create this positive resolution. The Turner children will return to school. The Carroll County School District will continue to strive to be a place that fosters the emotional and educational growth of all students regardless of religion, race, national origin, gender or disability.
Well, at least some good came of it, it's just a sad thing that it took this happening for something to be done about it!
I think the saddest part of this is the teacher believing that it was her right/duty to enforce Christianity in the school~ In this day and age, why did this ever happen in the first place? I think it's a timely reminder to us all that even though non-Christians are guaranteed freedom of worship, often in controlled situations things like this are happening every day. Not all people affected by religious discrimination and prejudice know who or how to complain about the abuse of authority. This is just the tip of the iceberg, I'm afraid. Even with all of the info and excellent work done to educate the public by organizations such as Lady Liberty League, COG, and others, there ARE still real risks for those who openly practice and avow their non-Christian religions in America.
I read the article. By the way the school system treated the mother I can very much relate. It's more than just a religious issue here. I had a bully issue with my son that began to wear on his health to a degree. I got absolutely no help from the school system for months and ended up just taking my son out entirely to home school him.
I'm saddened that a teacher, an educator, threw away such a prime learning experience. I'm also saddened that the educational system didn't reprimand the teacher right away for it, and a little more harshly then they seemed to, if they did at all.
I rather think the public exposure did more to educate the well-meaning people of the community that anything else could have done. It brought home to people that Pagans - non-Christians, are people too, and they take their freedom of religion as seriously as Christians. i doubt if anyone in the community ever heard of Lady Liberty League, or any of the other organizations that supported the rights of that family. When the knowledge gets around that there ARE organizations to support non-Christians other than the ACLU, people tend to pay more attention and listen and learn.
Unfortunately, the bully issue has always been around in society, especially in closed societies such as schools, and I'm afraid it will always be there. No, I don't think it's 'right', but it's a fact of life. Some people don't respect anyone they perceive as 'weaker' than themselves, or 'different' in any way. That's simply based on the 'fear of the OTHER', and programed in our hierarchical instinctual package. Education and enforcement of the laws and rules of society are the only 'fix' for bullying~ but at times, only a stronger person can control a bully, by violence in kind~~ Sad, but a fact of life for school kids in our present society.