An atheist middle school teacher’s Facebook post has landed her in hot water with a Florida school district and parents after she called her students “little cretins” and accused them of bullying and harassing her over her beliefs.
Susan Creamer, a teacher at Merritt Brown Middle School in Panama City, solicited advice from the Atheists of Bay County Facebook page about how to deal with the “cretins” in her class, EAG News reported.
“A bevy of boys in one of my classes … are taking turns either inviting me to church or leaving (anonymously) flyers inviting me to church events,” she wrote in the post. It continued:
Every time any child sneezes, they loudly say ‘God Bless You!’ and look in my direction. I have complained twice to the principal — once last month and once today. She has spoken privately to one or two of the little cretins, but it seems to do NO GOOD. I am feeling bullied and harassed. It has become intolerable. I don’t feel like talking with the parents will stop the inappropriate behaviors because, for all I know, the parents are encouraging them.
Bay District Schools spokeswoman Karen Tucker told the Northwest Florida Daily News that it is against school policy to criticize students either in person or online and that human resources is investigating the post in question in addition to other posts she made on the Atheists of Bay County Facebook page.
Tucker also said that making derogatory comments about students, even on a closed Facebook page, is against school policy.
“I don’t think it matters [if the page is closed], because eventually someone else is going to see it posted, which is what happened,” she told the Daily News. “People were re-posting. If you said things on there, which she did, about students, no, I don’t think it matters.”
Nick Fish, national program director of American Atheists, told the Blaze that if Creamer discussed atheism’s principles in class, “that could potentially be an issue” but added that “simply being an atheist isn’t inappropriate.”
“It certainly speaks to the stigma faced by atheists that a teacher can be harassed by students over her religious beliefs, or lack thereof,” Fish said.