As a public school teacher for the past 15 years, I have fought hard against violations of separation of Church and State almost daily. Dominant religious oppression is alive and real in Cobb County Schools, and as I speak to more and more teachers, I realize just how systematic the problem is.
No matter an individual’s personal beliefs, our schools are public and there are students as well as teachers in them of “other” faiths, or no faith. These rights must be protected, and yes, cherished. All students should be free of any religious proselytizing or forced prayer, or the expectation that there will be prayer during mandated moments of silence. Prayer and religion have no place, with the exception of what is in each individual’s own mind during the course of a school day, any time while on school property, or any school represented or sanctioned event.
To openly announce meetings for FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Young Life, both Christian organizations and how these offer an opportunity to learn about “the love of Jesus” and “about salvation through Jesus” over the Public Address System in public schools is such a violation.
These types of statements have been not only made over the PA in local schools, but televised broadcasts during homeroom, and these videos published to YouTube and SchoolTube. Why is this allowed? Why has no one done anything?
Because of a lack of power, and because of the normalization of the dominant religion in our school systems.
This normalization creates an oppressive environment for all students as well as teachers. Public school is about education, not proselytization.
Demanding students stand for the pledge of allegiance is a violation. Disciplining that a child is criminal. Yet, these acts take place every day before teachers give the first bell ringer activity.
As a teacher I have been questioned regarding my own faith, I have been officially reprimanded because I “refused to teach the Bible as fact.”
I know how bad it already is, and I fear how much worse it will be with the elected president and his Cabinet’s agenda of Nationalism and One Religion ideology.
Please join me. I am one woman. I am a teacher and a single mother. I have no wealth, in fact, I am currently riding out my final paycheck as my resignation from Cobb County Schools becomes effective February 10, 2017.
It is an inconvenient time. However, some of the greatest moments in our history have occurred because people stood and acted during times inconvenient.