Since we moved to Texas 4 months ago, my second grade son has been complaining increasingly of being bullied for not being Christian. He's been told that he and his family are going to hell (soon, according to one girl, since god will be destroying the Earth very soon), has been tattle on twice for admitting that he doesn't believe in god, has had other students verbally gang up on him several times, etc. My third grade daughter tells me that she experiences harassment, too, and therefore has started lying to people and pretending to be Christian to avoid the meanness. I just wrote emails to both teachers asking that they discuss religious tolerance with their classes. What else could/should I do, or is that all I can do realistically?
One of the big guns you can bring to the table is the Freedom from Religion Foundation:
If they want to insist on religious intimidation, they may wish to think twice if legal action is brought, which FFRF can help you with, if such is the direction you want to go in. At minimum, contact them, outline the situation, and they can advise you how best to proceed.
My mother was a teacher. I would encourage you to stay vocal about it. In most schools, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Of course, I suppose you run the risk of making it worse. It would suck to go in the closet.
Welcome to Texas!
Thanks, everyone! I haven't received response emails from the teachers yet, but my daughter came home today and said that her teacher spoke to the class about religious tolerance and freedom, so it looks like she read my email and took immediate action. Good sign. She even told them that they have the right not to do the pledge, so i think she'll be supportive. I haven't heard from my son's teacher, though. I think that I probably should go to the principal, even if the teachers take appropriate action, because it sounds to me like it's a school-wide problem and I think she should be aware of it.
I checked out the FFRF and a few links and found that the school is obligated to do its best to put a stop to any religious harassment. I'll wait to hear back from the other teacher (as long as she doesn't take too long) before I move to a next step, I think.
You're right. I hadn't thought about it that way. I think that it's even more acceptable to direct hated toward atheists than it is to direct it toward people of other religions....
I think that a lot of Christian parents may teach their kids to respect other religions, but I don't think they discuss respect for a lack of religion. Even my mom, an former Catholic and current agnostic, always taught me to respect all religions but has never considered pute atheism to be a very respectable stance.
We had a similar issue, but with an older student. Several cowboy hat wearing fools were threatening to gang up on my boy. They had a problem with him because he was one of those Atheist Yankees. My kid was trying to do the right thing, not wanting to fight, especially in school, but also not wanting to seem like a wuss. He discussed it with us and I talked to the principal. The asshat principal's only comment was that it since it takes two to fight my kid must be instigating it. It took awhile but that principal is no longer working for the school system.
Nothing really, we had no proof to back it up plus they had not actually done anything besides push him a bit and make threats. We moved not long after so he ended up in a different school. We are in Jacksonville Florida and the school system totally sucks.
We used to live in Vermont, and what a difference in the school system. Of course it was not perfect but the kids seemed pretty cool. New England has a bad rap about being judgmental but I am starting to think that was a rumor spread by those in the judgmental Bible belt.
I am the same way when it comes to confrontation, but you know what they say about mama bear and their cubs.
Yeah, I might get irritated when someone says something to me, but when it's said to my kids--and at their public school--I have to do something about it.
I'm from California (I've never been east of Arkansas or Iowa, unfortunately), but I know what you means about rumors/stereotypes. I always thought that Texana were supposed to be the epitome of politeness (if also stubborn and religious) and that Californians were supposed to be rude and stuck up. I think it's a rumor started by bible-beleters, too, because I'm finding it's the opposite. There seems to be SO much more meanness and most of the politeness seems totally fake here. Sure, a lot of Californians were rude and stuck up, but at least they left me alone and were more genuine, lol.