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Teacher Tells 10-Year-Old God Is Not an Acceptable 'Idol'

*Public School article posted for discussion*

Teacher Tells 10-Year-Old God Is Not an Acceptable 'Idol' (VIDEO)

by Mary Fischer 

elementary school

Ugh. Can someone please explain to me what the heck this world is coming to? Because after hearing that a 10-year-old girl was not allowed to choose God as her idol to write about for a school assignment, I really don't know whether to scream or cry.

Mom Erica Shead explains how her daughter, Erin, came home from school on Wednesday upset. When she drew a diagram in class with the words, "I look up to God," in the middle of it -- her teacher told her that God was not an acceptable idol, and that she'd have to start the assignment all over again.

The poor kid wound up choosing Michael Jackson (basically going from one extreme to the other) as an alternative.

Erin told her mother she wanted to write about God because "God created the earth" and added that she's "doing the best she can."

And as you can imagine, Erica is absolutely irate over the teacher's decision, as she should be.

Take a look at this video clip to hear more about what happened.

 Video here

That poor child. This makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. Who the hell is that teacher to tell a child who she can and cannot look up to? By telling her to choose someone else, and by not even allowing her to keep the original assignment at school (you know, because it's SO offensive), she's basically teaching her that her faith doesn't matter and isn't worth believing in. And that's just sad, wrong, disgusting, ridiculous, and well ... really shitty, if you ask me.

What would've been the harm in letting her write about God? It's not like she was preaching to the class or anything. She was simply following the instructions she was given to complete her school work -- and she basically got punished for it. Yes, it is a punishment to take a child's beautiful, creative idea and classify it as wrong, when it clearly isn't.

Oh, and another thing, I'd be appalled about this incident no matter where in the country it happened. But in Millington, Tennessee -- right outside of Memphis?!? If kids can't express their love for God in the Bible belt, it certainly doesn't offer much hope to the rest of the U.S.

I don't blame Erica one bit for going straight to the principal. I would've done the same thing in her shoes, because the way her daughter was treated is unacceptable. Schools should be a place where children are encouraged to stand up for what they believe instead of hiding from it.

That teacher should be ashamed of herself. All I can say is thank GOD my kid isn't in her class.

Do you think Erin should have been allowed to write about her true idol?

by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:13 PM
Replies (21-30):
Maridel
by on Sep. 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM
2 moms liked this


Actually seperation of Church and state means the government can't make laws based on religious beliefs. It has nothing to do with how we express ourselves in public.

Quoting paknari:

Unfortunately separation of Chechnya and state is just that. You are not supposed to discuss your religion. I think the law is ridiculous and should never have happened but it was passed.


Quoting ablessedlife:

Quoting paknari:

Although I am Christian and I think that God is a great idol, I can see why the girl wasn't allowed to write a paper about it in school. There are a lot of crazy ass people out there that would sue if little tommy heard a paper that Was offensive.

No. Even in school, especially in school, students are (should be) allowed to share their opinions and beliefs. Students need to hear that others might believe differently than you do. If the teacher doesn't want to have that in her class, then she shouldn't assign something like writing "about your idol." Choose a different topic then. Choose one that is less evoking. (But evoking is good, in my opinion, especially if the children are a bit older.)



goldilocksbecky
by on Sep. 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM
3 moms liked this

 

You're dead wrong on this one.  While the teacher can't teach or promote her religious beliefs, the student is perfectly within her rights to practice her religion, express opinions based on her religious beliefs, share stories based on her religious experiences, reference religious texts in support of ideas, pray, read her Bible or religious text during free choice reading time, etc.  It's that whole little "Freedom of Religion" thing.  

Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't understand how I'm forcing my ideal on anyone.

Yes, children should look up to humans that made a difference, whether its volunteer work at a local animal shelter, or someone who helped propel change across a nation.  If it had been a paper about how her idol was Aphrodite would that be acceptable?  

Religios belief does not belong in public school.  Period.  There are far too many other religions for one to be acceptable, and not all others.   I'm not against teaching about various religions and the cultures that surround them, merely the belief that any religious faith belongs in public school.

 

Quoting AutymsMommy:

 

I don't understand this at all.

You're forcing your ideal that a child SHOULD look up to someone who has made a great impact on society. What if Susie looks up to her mother? Still not acceptable? I mean, mom will never move mountains.

The paper wouldn't require grading on "religious beliefs" - assuming she wrote the assignment as per the instructions, the teacher would be grading the writing, not the content necessarily.

Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't think that's appropriate for school. I would be outraged if my son came home saying he'd learned about god in public school. I do think children should be pushed to learn more about human rights activists who have managed to make great change in their societies, no matter if that person is a religious figurehead or not. It's people who make change in our physical world, the spiritual should be something left for parents to teach at home. Even if only the teacher was reading it, I still believe it's not appropriate for a public school.  Asking a teacher to grade an essay on a student's religous beliefs irks me deeply. The child's faith only matters to her personally. Her faith will not make the world bend to accommodate her.

 

 


 

 

paknari
by on Sep. 14, 2013 at 1:42 PM
I'm sorry you feel that way. I honestly think we should be more open about our beliefs but because of concerns that someone would throw a fit is why it is usually not allowed.


Quoting goldilocksbecky:


You're dead wrong on this one.  While the teacher can't teach or promote her religious beliefs, the student is perfectly within her rights to practice her religion, express opinions based on her religious beliefs, share stories based on her religious experiences, reference religious texts in support of ideas, pray, read her Bible or religious text during free choice reading time, etc.  It's that whole little "Freedom of Religion" thing.  


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't understand how I'm forcing my ideal on anyone.

Yes, children should look up to humans that made a difference, whether its volunteer work at a local animal shelter, or someone who helped propel change across a nation.  If it had been a paper about how her idol was Aphrodite would that be acceptable?  

Religios belief does not belong in public school.  Period.  There are far too many other religions for one to be acceptable, and not all others.   I'm not against teaching about various religions and the cultures that surround them, merely the belief that any religious faith belongs in public school.


Quoting AutymsMommy:


I don't understand this at all.

You're forcing your ideal that a child SHOULD look up to someone who has made a great impact on society. What if Susie looks up to her mother? Still not acceptable? I mean, mom will never move mountains.

The paper wouldn't require grading on "religious beliefs" - assuming she wrote the assignment as per the instructions, the teacher would be grading the writing, not the content necessarily.


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't think that's appropriate for school. I would be outraged if my son came home saying he'd learned about god in public school. I do think children should be pushed to learn more about human rights activists who have managed to make great change in their societies, no matter if that person is a religious figurehead or not. It's people who make change in our physical world, the spiritual should be something left for parents to teach at home. Even if only the teacher was reading it, I still believe it's not appropriate for a public school.  Asking a teacher to grade an essay on a student's religous beliefs irks me deeply. The child's faith only matters to her personally. Her faith will not make the world bend to accommodate her.









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goldilocksbecky
by on Sep. 14, 2013 at 1:54 PM
2 moms liked this

 Yes, it IS allowed.  And if this Mother pushes the matter, the teacher and the school don't have a leg to stand on. 

This is long, but the section on Religious Expression of Students starts on page 11. :)

 http://www.freedomforum.org/publications/first/teachersguide/teachersguide.pdf

Quoting paknari:

I'm sorry you feel that way. I honestly think we should be more open about our beliefs but because of concerns that someone would throw a fit is why it is usually not allowed.


Quoting goldilocksbecky:

 

You're dead wrong on this one.  While the teacher can't teach or promote her religious beliefs, the student is perfectly within her rights to practice her religion, express opinions based on her religious beliefs, share stories based on her religious experiences, reference religious texts in support of ideas, pray, read her Bible or religious text during free choice reading time, etc.  It's that whole little "Freedom of Religion" thing.  


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't understand how I'm forcing my ideal on anyone.

Yes, children should look up to humans that made a difference, whether its volunteer work at a local animal shelter, or someone who helped propel change across a nation.  If it had been a paper about how her idol was Aphrodite would that be acceptable?  

Religios belief does not belong in public school.  Period.  There are far too many other religions for one to be acceptable, and not all others.   I'm not against teaching about various religions and the cultures that surround them, merely the belief that any religious faith belongs in public school.

 

Quoting AutymsMommy:

 

I don't understand this at all.

You're forcing your ideal that a child SHOULD look up to someone who has made a great impact on society. What if Susie looks up to her mother? Still not acceptable? I mean, mom will never move mountains.

The paper wouldn't require grading on "religious beliefs" - assuming she wrote the assignment as per the instructions, the teacher would be grading the writing, not the content necessarily.


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't think that's appropriate for school. I would be outraged if my son came home saying he'd learned about god in public school. I do think children should be pushed to learn more about human rights activists who have managed to make great change in their societies, no matter if that person is a religious figurehead or not. It's people who make change in our physical world, the spiritual should be something left for parents to teach at home. Even if only the teacher was reading it, I still believe it's not appropriate for a public school.  Asking a teacher to grade an essay on a student's religous beliefs irks me deeply. The child's faith only matters to her personally. Her faith will not make the world bend to accommodate her.

 


 


 


 


 

 

ripemango
by Member on Sep. 14, 2013 at 2:06 PM
1 mom liked this

There are many people who would consider referring to their god as an idol to be quite offensive. Maybe the teacher didn't make it clear that he/she intended the idol to be human - then again I would assume such is implied. Of course any child/person looks up to a deity; that is kind of a given. You can't really talk about the accomplishments of a being that is all-powerful. I would gather the focus of the assignment was to highlight the accomplishments of a person who the child feels inspired as a result of their work or actions. If, for example, the child had chosen to write about Mother Teresa or the pope that would actually fit the confines of the assignment as intended.

I agree with the teacher. I don't feel like the following is an accurate assessment of what occurred:

"Who the hell is that teacher to tell a child who she can and cannot look up to? By telling her to choose someone else, and by not even allowing her to keep the original assignment at school (you know, because it's SO offensive), she's basically teaching her that her faith doesn't matter and isn't worth believing in."


I don't know where the sunbeams end and the starlights begin; it's all a mystery.

Mandallyn
by Member on Sep. 14, 2013 at 4:12 PM
3 moms liked this
Oh I feel so popular! I've been quoted 3 times on one issue! Lol

Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion. I don't want your kids filling my kids heads up with, 'your brother's going to hell if he doesn't do what my mom said boys are supposed to do! ' any more than you want my kids comparing Dumbledore to your god. Take your religion to school and keep it to yourself. Want to join an after school church group? Go for it!

Quoting goldilocksbecky:

 


You're dead wrong on this one.  While the teacher can't teach or promote her religious beliefs, the student is perfectly within her rights to practice her religion, express opinions based on her religious beliefs, share stories based on her religious experiences, reference religious texts in support of ideas, pray, read her Bible or religious text during free choice reading time, etc.  It's that whole little "Freedom of Religion" thing.  


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't understand how I'm forcing my ideal on anyone.


Yes, children should look up to humans that made a difference, whether its volunteer work at a local animal shelter, or someone who helped propel change across a nation.  If it had been a paper about how her idol was Aphrodite would that be acceptable?  


Religios belief does not belong in public school.  Period.  There are far too many other religions for one to be acceptable, and not all others.   I'm not against teaching about various religions and the cultures that surround them, merely the belief that any religious faith belongs in public school.


 


Quoting AutymsMommy:

 


I don't understand this at all.


You're forcing your ideal that a child SHOULD look up to someone who has made a great impact on society. What if Susie looks up to her mother? Still not acceptable? I mean, mom will never move mountains.


The paper wouldn't require grading on "religious beliefs" - assuming she wrote the assignment as per the instructions, the teacher would be grading the writing, not the content necessarily.


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't think that's appropriate for school. I would be outraged if my son came home saying he'd learned about god in public school. I do think children should be pushed to learn more about human rights activists who have managed to make great change in their societies, no matter if that person is a religious figurehead or not. It's people who make change in our physical world, the spiritual should be something left for parents to teach at home. Even if only the teacher was reading it, I still believe it's not appropriate for a public school.  Asking a teacher to grade an essay on a student's religous beliefs irks me deeply. The child's faith only matters to her personally. Her faith will not make the world bend to accommodate her.



 


 





 


 


Mandallyn
by Member on Sep. 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM
4 moms liked this

LMAO!  You wrote me a book!

1) Our country was NOT founded on religious freedom.  A small percentange came here for religious freedom, the majority came for land owner ship and the chance to escape serfdom.

2) I can't believe you think I don't teach my kids about religion.  Of course i do, that way they know what to watch out for when someone speaks intolerance.  Any relgion that says one will burn for eternity if they THINK the wrong thing is one I want to keep my kids from falling for.  Any religion that bases a person's sex on their status is one I want to keep my kids from falling for.  Any religion that demands I chop a piece of my kids' anatomy off is one I want to educate my kids on so they know better.

3) The Christmas tree is not a religious symbol.  Nor is the menorah a religious symbol.  They are cultural.  


Quoting Maridel:

Yes Aphrodite should have been just as acceptable, God, Jesus, Allah, just as any Pagan diety for a Pagan child should be acceptable too. 

Religious beliefs should not be TAUGHT in public school! Yes I would be outraged if my child came home from school saying the teacher told her God doesn't exist and that some other god was the only real god. That is not a teacher's place. But what children learn from each other is completely different. Religion will be in public school because it is a part of who that child is! Chirstianity is a part of a Christian child and it will be with them everywhere they go! And when you send your child into the world they are going to be exposed to all different religious beliefs. You can't shield them from that. Not even as homeschoolers can we shield our children from the world. My child comes home telling me the neighbor kid is Muslim and believes differently than we do, I'm not going to jump up and down and have a fit and tell this kid's mother they can't talk about such things. I'm going to take the opportunity to keep communication open with my child and teach her that not everyone believes the same as we do, and that's okay. That's how you teach tolerance and accepting people for who they are.

What gets me most about the article is how Christians are constantly being accused of being intolerant. But other religions and atheists are just as intolerant of Christians. It seems they think religious freedom in our country means they don't have to hear about religion EVER. That's not what this country was founded on! Religious freedom in our country means we are welcome to believe what we want and be able to worship FREELY and OPENLY. The settlers came from other countries where they were having to worship in secret for fear of being persecuted. Now non-Christians in this country are asking us to "keep it to ourselves". What now we have to go back and worship in secret?? Teach our kids are religion is something to be ashamed of and can't be talked about when they are out in public?! That's not religious freedom!!  The same way we can't tell a Muslim not to wear their Hijab because our kids would ask too many questions. Or Jewish child be told she can't draw a picture of a menorah around Christmas time if the school assignment was to draw what they will be doing during the holidays. That's just intolerance!


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't understand how I'm forcing my ideal on anyone.

Yes, children should look up to humans that made a difference, whether its volunteer work at a local animal shelter, or someone who helped propel change across a nation.  If it had been a paper about how her idol was Aphrodite would that be acceptable?  

Religios belief does not belong in public school.  Period.  There are far too many other religions for one to be acceptable, and not all others.   I'm not against teaching about various religions and the cultures that surround them, merely the belief that any religious faith belongs in public school.


Quoting AutymsMommy:


I don't understand this at all.

You're forcing your ideal that a child SHOULD look up to someone who has made a great impact on society. What if Susie looks up to her mother? Still not acceptable? I mean, mom will never move mountains.

The paper wouldn't require grading on "religious beliefs" - assuming she wrote the assignment as per the instructions, the teacher would be grading the writing, not the content necessarily.

Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't think that's appropriate for school. I would be outraged if my son came home saying he'd learned about god in public school. I do think children should be pushed to learn more about human rights activists who have managed to make great change in their societies, no matter if that person is a religious figurehead or not. It's people who make change in our physical world, the spiritual should be something left for parents to teach at home. Even if only the teacher was reading it, I still believe it's not appropriate for a public school.  Asking a teacher to grade an essay on a student's religous beliefs irks me deeply. The child's faith only matters to her personally. Her faith will not make the world bend to accommodate her.







ablessedlife
by on Sep. 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting Maridel:

Yes Aphrodite should have been just as acceptable, God, Jesus, Allah, just as any Pagan diety for a Pagan child should be acceptable too. 

Religious beliefs should not be TAUGHT in public school! Yes I would be outraged if my child came home from school saying the teacher told her God doesn't exist and that some other god was the only real god. That is not a teacher's place. But what children learn from each other is completely different. Religion will be in public school becaause it is a part of who that child is! Chirstianity is a part of a Christian child and it will be with them everywhere they go! And when you send your child into the world they are going to be exposed to all different religious beliefs. You can't shield them from that. Not even as homeschoolers can we shield our children from the world. My child comes home telling me the neighbor kid is Muslim and believes differently than we do, I'm not going to jump up and down and have a fit and tell this kid's mother they can't talk about such things. I'm going to take the opportunity to keep communication open with my child and teach her that not everyone believes the same as we do, and that's okay. That's how you teach tolerance and accepting people for who they are.

What gets me most about the article is how Christians are constantly being accused of being intolerant. But other religions and atheists are just as intolerant of Christians. It seems they think religious freedom in our country means they don't have to hear about religion EVER. That's not what this country was founded on! Religious freedom in our country means we are welcome to believe what we want and be able to worship FREELY and OPENLY. The settlers came from other countries where they were having to worship in secret for fear of being persecuted. Now non-Christians in this country are asking us to "keep it to ourselves". What now we have to go back and worship in secret?? Teach our kids are religion is something to be ashamed of and can't be talked about when they are out in public?! That's not religious freedom!!  The same way we can't tell a Muslim not to wear their Hijab because our kids would ask too many questions. Or Jewish child be told she can't draw a picture of a menorah around Christmas time if the school assignment was to draw what they will be doing during the holidays. That's just intolerance!


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't understand how I'm forcing my ideal on anyone.

Yes, children should look up to humans that made a difference, whether its volunteer work at a local animal shelter, or someone who helped propel change across a nation.  If it had been a paper about how her idol was Aphrodite would that be acceptable?  

Religios belief does not belong in public school.  Period.  There are far too many other religions for one to be acceptable, and not all others.   I'm not against teaching about various religions and the cultures that surround them, merely the belief that any religious faith belongs in public school.

Quoting AutymsMommy:

I don't understand this at all.

You're forcing your ideal that a child SHOULD look up to someone who has made a great impact on society. What if Susie looks up to her mother? Still not acceptable? I mean, mom will never move mountains.

The paper wouldn't require grading on "religious beliefs" - assuming she wrote the assignment as per the instructions, the teacher would be grading the writing, not the content necessarily.


Quoting Mandallyn:

I don't think that's appropriate for school. I would be outraged if my son came home saying he'd learned about god in public school. I do think children should be pushed to learn more about human rights activists who have managed to make great change in their societies, no matter if that person is a religious figurehead or not. It's people who make change in our physical world, the spiritual should be something left for parents to teach at home. Even if only the teacher was reading it, I still believe it's not appropriate for a public school.  Asking a teacher to grade an essay on a student's religous beliefs irks me deeply. The child's faith only matters to her personally. Her faith will not make the world bend to accommodate her.







I agree! Very well said!
housewife94
by on Sep. 15, 2013 at 10:35 AM
1 mom liked this


Quote:

Do you think Erin should have been allowed to write about her true idol?

NOT if the assignment had been clearly about human idols.

BUT, if the teacher wasn't specific, Erin should be allowed to write about whomever she pleases. It doesn't matter whether the teacher agrees that God is a suitable idol or not (and I'm with Erin). The assignment was about the best role model in Erin's own opinion. What the teacher thinks of any child's idol is immaterial in this instance.

elzingah36
by on Sep. 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM
This is exactly what happens when there's to much government and public opinion. As it was wrong,imo,for the teacher to do what she did,it's still acceptable. For to long there's been to much opinion by the public whether to let the word "god" in our schools. Not one human being can just let it go and let it be,no they have to complain that because their atheist or another religion,it's their right not to hear the word "god". Wait though!! We have to be "fair" to the people who believe in the word "god" or we'll hurt their feelings and go through many lawsuits...same for atheists and other religions. Because everyone wants their rights to be favored and no one elses then we as a people have determined that the word "god" cannot be used in the public schools. Because of this,little Suzy cannot use the word "god" in her assignments,especially if it's her idol. This is everyone's fault for letting this rights bs to go this far. I'm not a Christian nor am I an atheist,nor am I a big religious person. People should've seen this coming.
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