An elementary school teacher in Indiana caught flak from parents and school administrators alike for sending a letter home warning parents to tell their children to stop talking about God, Jesus, and the devil in her classroom.
A first-grade teacher at McCordsville Elementary School sent a letter home to parents informing them that “about 5 students” had been heard talking about religion and using the words “God,” “Jesus,” and “devil,” Fox 59 reported.
“With McCordsville Elementary being a public school, we have many different religions and beliefs, and I do not want to upset a child/parent because of these words being used,” the teacher’s letter said. “If you go to church or discuss these things at home, please have a talk with your child about there being an appropriate time and place of talking about it.”
The teacher also noted that she warned the students before about discussing religion in class.
Parents were alarmed enough to contact the teacher’s superiors forcing Superintendent Shane Robbins to issue a letter calling the teacher’s missive “unfortunate” and denouncing the teacher’s actions. Robbins assured parents that their children’s First Amendment rights would not be violated in school.
Robbins told parents that children have every right to speak of their religion as long as they are not disrupting class:
To simply summarize, MVCSC employees can neither advance nor inhibit religious views. Trying to limit a student’s view on religion is a violation of a student’s first amendment rights. However, if the discussion becomes an academic disruption, then as a district, we can intervene to maintain the integrity of the educational process while at the same time being sure to not violate a student’s constitutional rights.
District officials reported that they have met with the teacher but did not make the results of that meeting public. The district also refused to say if the teacher is facing any disciplinary actions.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.