A Louisiana teacher told her class that Buddhism was “stupid,” and now the parents are suing the Sabine Parish School District. The school in question is in the “Bible Belt,” and the staff allegedly let the religious focus get out of hand.
Scott and Sharon Lane are the parents of five Thai children all enrolled in schools in Bible Belt. Raised Buddhist, the children were allegedly harassed for not believing in the Christian God. A question on one of the tests in Negreet High School was a fill-in-the-blank with the following words:
“ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Their son C.C. answered the question with “Lord Buddha,” as his beliefs dictate, not knowing that the teacher would only accept “Lord.” As Louisiana teacher Rita Roark was handing back the graded tests, his answer was marked as wrong. Another student piped in at the time, “people are stupid if they think God is not real.”
As an American and a Buddhist, this horrifies and saddens me. http://t.co/LeBrpHWZcI
— Christopher Brown (@skeptomai) January 25, 2014
The teacher decided not to find a middle ground, but took the other student’s side, “Yes! That is right! I had a student miss that on his test.”
The Louisiana teacher didn’t call him out by name, but it was obvious enough who she was talking about with only one Buddhist student in the class.
Roark allegedly pushed the point home by teaching that evolution was a “stupid theory made up by stupid people who don’t want to believe in God.” It should be pointed out that evolution is a scientific theory, and not necessarily a Buddhist belief.
Scott and Sharon Lane sued the school for what their son has gone through, including allegedly feeling sick every morning before school because of the daily harassment. The school superintendent allegedly refused to give in on the issue, suggesting that they change his faith or enroll him in a school with more Asians.
— Doc Hamrick (@mch7576) January 25, 2014
The boy’s parents also noticed the school has paintings everywhere with various Christian imagery, as well as text books that blatantly spoke out against things like “birth control, premarital sex, rock music, alcohol, pornography, homosexuality, sorcery, and witchcraft.”
Marjorie Esman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, told the press concerning the matter:
“Public schools should be welcoming places for students of all backgrounds. No child should be harassed and made to feel like an outsider in his own classroom, and students should not have to endure school officials constantly imposing their religious beliefs on them while they are trying to learn.”
Sabine Parish may be a Christian school district, but there are laws against religious harassment in public schools, and Louisiana teacher Rita Roark may have taken it too far.