Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Proselytize Much?

The most I ever do it, as a public school teacher, is never. So I was kind of shocked to read about a teacher allegedly selling books telling kids how to "recognize those serving Satan and bring them to Jesus."

The story says he was "reprimanded." I've read of teachers sent to the rubber room for giving watches to kids, for sending faxes on DoE machines, and suspended without pay for unsubstantiated charges later proven to have no merit whatsoever. To me, this charge seems much more serious.

I have to say, as a parent, that if a teacher sold or lent a religious book to my kid, I would be furious. For me, a reprimand would seem far from sufficient, and the administrator telling me about it would get an earful, if not a lawsuit.

"He has been instructed that he cannot hand out material that hasn't been previously approved," said Education Department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg.

That seems like less than a slap on the wrist to me. It's my right to choose how or if I want my child to receive religious instruction. I specifically send my kid to public school, at least in part, to protect that right.

Am I reacting too strongly to this? Is it enough to wave a forbidding finger and say don't do that? Or should any public school teacher worth learning from already have mastered that whole church vs. state thing?
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