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Religion, public school and children, what do you do?

I'm asking this specifically with Pagans in mind, but everyone is welcome to answer.

How do you prepare your child for a religious melting pot environment? Do you teach your child to not talk about your religion? Why or why not? Are you openly Pagan or openly religious when you meet with your child's teacher? Is religious honesty the best policy in the school system? Has your child experienced discrimination because of your beliefs? How do you protect your children from religious harassment?

 
isabellalecour

Asked by isabellalecour at 12:49 PM on Aug. 22, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 26 (26,599 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (29)
  • This was a tough one for us. My son's religion is glaringly obvious. He's Sikh, who wears bana ( a turban), doesn't cut his hair..etc. So there was no hiding, or blending when he first started school. lol He had a tough time especially after 9/11 because of people's ignorance and prejuidices. He was taught to always hold his head high, be proud of who and what he is, and not to give ignorant people who gave him a hard time a second thought. Of course, these are things (because of his & his father's religion being so obvious) that he has been taught his entire life. And dealing with dirty looks, odd questions, and intolerance on the parts of some people are things he has had to deal with his entire life.

    I've learned over the years that there is no way to protect my son from harrassment and other people's ignorance. All I can do his make sure HE knows who and what he is, and HE is comfortable and confident with himself
    pixie_trix

    Answer by pixie_trix at 3:17 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • admittedly OT, but kids should be able to decline taking the pledge for any reason, not just religious
    autodidact

    Answer by autodidact at 7:16 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • We aren't raising our children with religion, so there is nothing for them to talk about. However, I do plan to educate the teacher on our families difference of beliefs, simply so if and when issues come up she knows what is going on. For example, my children are growing up getting gifts and a "special dinner" for Yule and Christmas (my DH is Christian) and they hear stories/myths from both sides as well. They are also being brought up w/o any belief in Santa or the Easter Bunny or any of that crap, because we believe it sets a bad example to lie to children just for fun... These are differences that even though aren't purely religious, will most likely come up in school. And because of that we feel it's important to inform the teacher outright. I am putting together a small "magazine" type of letter like my mothers Church used to make for teachers...
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 12:57 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • However beyond that we aren't doing anything differently. Most of the abuse I expect will come from the parents, not the students, and I will deal with them myself. We plan to take each and ever issue as it comes and address things as needed. Generally around here, it's just assumed you are Christian until you stand out as something else, because they aren't being raised with anything, there really isn't a reason they would stand out as something else.

    All that said, I don't think them facing religious or other types of harassment is always a bad thing. I believe as they get older it will be a great way for them to start a dialog with others and hopefully make them stronger in the face of adversity as an adult. No matter what they choose to believe that strength will serve them well! I also think having them in the mix is a great way to teach tolerance - which as you all know is my obsession...
    SabrinaMBowen

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 1:01 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • If your child is a different from their peer group,  whether it be religion, color, stature, ect. They have to try and embrace it. Talk to kids about differences and how to handle bulling no matter what form it takes, adolescents is hard.  If they are being really hurt by what is said or done then adults need to step in by calling the school, teacher, police or pulling their children out of school. 


     Kids should feel safe and I don't believe in the "boys will be boys" attitude of letting them figure it out for themselves, if someone is really being hurt adults need to step in.  I go to work everyday without being bullied or hurt, it should be the same in schools. 

    RyansMom001

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 1:07 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • Growing up in the south, most everybody I went to school with majority Christians. And if you weren't a Christian, you were pretty much shunned by the majority. There were some students who claimed to be Wiccan or Pagan...they were great people but b/c Christians didn't understand, they made fun of them or talked bad about them. I never claimed to be Christian & people would ask me where I go to church & when I told them that I didn't, it was a big deal & they assumed that I worshiped the devil. (Idiots.) I just don't dig any particular organized religion. In school, it was like, if you weren't a Christian you were nothing. There was this really popular girl that was Catholic & her friends found out & they were all "WTF?!" when they found out. How can you be friends w/ someone for years & then make a big deal about it when you find out that she's Catholic. That doesn't change anything...or shouldn't, anyway.
    paige8608

    Answer by paige8608 at 1:13 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • I'm not exactly pagan. I'm a Christo-witch. Though my kids do not share this, MO is until they are old enough to understand religion They have no place being involved in it in any way. I also believe religion and school are to remain completely separate. That includes my talking with the school. It is none of their business what religion I am. I am completely open about my religion out side of business and school which is where I believe it does not belong any way. However the other day I did have an issue with the teacher talking to my child about Christianity. In MO that is not his place period, plus she is in K. I did not discuss my religion with him, but did point out that if he ever speaks about religion with my child again other than things in history books I will go to the school board. Again religion does not belong in school period.
    hot-mama86

    Answer by hot-mama86 at 8:03 PM on Aug. 22, 2010

  • How do you prepare your child for a religious melting pot environment? Do you teach your child to not talk about your religion? Why or why not? Are you openly Pagan or openly religious when you meet with your child's teacher? Is religious honesty the best policy in the school system? Has your child experienced discrimination because of your beliefs? How do you protect your children from religious harassment?


    For starters ~ It has no place in the public school system.  Secondly ~ There would be legal ramifications if there was discrimination involved.  Lastly ~ My beliefs are none of the teachers business.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:53 AM on Aug. 23, 2010

  • I am openly Atheist. Almost ALL of the teachers down here are very openly christian... that said, I do everything I can to mitigate the impact that religion in the classroom will have on my children. Teachers who follow christianity are not only intolerant, but purposefully overlook religious attacks perpetrated by children.

    My children have been taught that it is HIGHLY DISRESPECTFUL and uncouth to speak openly of religion with people, and that it holds no bearing on our interaction with them. The only time they are to discuss religion is to defend their self, and end harassment.

    Living in the bible belt not only my children, but I myself have been harassed for my beliefs. My children are regularly attacked for not going to church, accused of being tools of satan, brining in the apocalypse (thats a new one this year- fucking preachers kid!). It is never ending. I've had to file charges before, I'll do it again.
    ObbyDobbie

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 10:01 AM on Aug. 23, 2010

  • "I also ask that the students who do not believe in symbols such as Santa or the Easter Bunny not ruin the tradition for anyone that does."

    I disagree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with this statement. The easter bunny, santa, the tooth fairy have NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION... not unless you'll agree with me that god is a figment of your imagination as well.

    Nothing pisses me off more than seeing a teacher punish a child for being honest, in defense of a LIE that parents should never have introduced to their children. By doing so, they teach the child to fear honesty, and that lies are OK, as long as they make someone happy... Personally, I would prefer that my child go to school and ruin santa for a child, rather than go to school and tell them that they are going to hell.

    Wow, what a warped perspective- no wonder Public Schools struggle so much.
    ObbyDobbie

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 10:11 AM on Aug. 23, 2010

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