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Conservative Student Attacks Teacher Over Jesus Story, Teacher Resigns

Posted by on Dec. 28, 2014 at 1:56 PM
  • 39 Replies
1 mom liked this

In New Mexico, a Creative Writing teacher found herself in a difficult situation when one of her students was offended by another student’s story. After being placed on administrative leave, the teacher says she felt forced to resign. Despite the incident occurring in October, it is only now going public.

Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, NM

Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, NM

Katrina Guarascio, a teacher at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, gave her class the assignment to rewrite a fairy tale or legend with a modern setting. One of her students, following instructions, rewrote a tale about Jesus, a central biblical figure, to have him handing out marijuana to the sick. During the subsequent peer review session, one of the students claimed to be so offended, she complained to her parents, who then filed a complaint to the school. Guarascio was subsequently placed on administrative leave pending investigation, despite not having violated any rules.

“[It was] Kind of a slap in the face [after] years of hard work,” Guarascio said to KOAT 7. The teacher had been working for the school for eight years at the time of the incident. Of the student who claimed offense, she said on Facebook that the student had been bragging to her classmates that she was going to get Guarascio fired. Now Guarascio has resigned amid being “targeted and harassed.”

In response, the school district’s Communications Director Kim Vesely, declining to go on camera with KOAT7, released the following statement:

“The teacher involved chose to resign rather than follow the school district’s direction that classes be administered in a professional manner.”

Guarascio noted that it was “interesting” that Vesely, someone she had never met, had claimed that “I refused to conduct my class in a professional manner, yet I was professional enough for them for the last 8 years. Once again showing how [Rio Rancho Public Schools] does not acknowledge their teachers’ hard work and sacrifices.”

I had mentioned before that religious freedom apparently is a one-way street, but this story is particularly troublesome because of its effect on education. Christians on the far right have been trying for years to eliminate opposition to their doctrine and it’s beginning to show. One student is offended by another student’s story because it shows Jesus in a non-Republican light, and suddenly the teacher finds herself on the defensive? Being a teacher already requires massive sacrifice and constant scrutiny, and is easily one of the hardest jobs to have, especially given the minuscule pay. Now we’re seeing the religious right (and their children!) attacking teachers by weaponizing their dogma. This almost seems like a freedom of speech issue, but the student who wrote the allegedly offensive piece wasn’t the target, but rather the instructor, who believes that being disagreed with “doesn’t make your point invalid or worthless.” Was it her belief that everyone is entitled to a voice that made her a target? The student could have just asked to edit another story. To go so far as to try and get the teacher fired seems to indicate that the child’s religion was being used as an excuse to fulfill a vendetta. I wonder if her parents taught her that…?

Thankfully, the student writer has been left out of it (at least, as far as we know), but how much further will this intolerance go in our public schools?

http://www.liberalamerica.org/2014/12/09/conservative-student-attacks-teacher-over-jesus-story-teacher-resigns/

by on Dec. 28, 2014 at 1:56 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Jambo4
by Platinum Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Thankfully... a post not about bad cops!

Can't say I really feel all that bad for the teacher.  The piece went through a rough draft stage, which the teacher went over.  It's part of the teacher's job to direct and protect all students from hurtful/hateful speech.  

Ziva65
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 3:47 PM
2 moms liked this

ugh, teachers aren't paid enough for that garbage.

We are conservative Christians too- but you can't control what other kids write- yes, the kid just could have asked for another story too- even in Private Christian schools kids write who knows what- do we hold the teacher responsible for every sentence and sentiment?

No religion- but with kids, this is a different story. This teacher wasn't the writer, and didn't force the child to read it.

I dislike that peer editing anyway- sometimes the kids can't even read the other kids writing, and some kids have no sense or abilities- WHY have them review another kids paper? 

Ziva65
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

I missed the part where the teacher went over it first, but either way- this is high school. Shouldnt high school student's be old enough to stand up for themselves and say they are offended and could they please read another paper?

My kids are in high school. We have a teacher who is a professed witch. We are following the process... verbal complaint, written complaint. She's not taking my kids complaints seriously so far- they have been the ones to kindly confront her. She however has no idea who the kids have behind them once we hit that point. I fully expect my kids to stand up for themselves and have trained them to do it, or I'd have never sent them to a public school. (It's not any better in the private ones either incidentally). I will step in when it's appropriate- and have no problem doing so, but why bring out full guns so quick?

But- we are giving this teacher a chance to pull it together, starting off with our kids being kind and direct. If this doesn't work, I really won't feel bad when she loses her job. I don't expect the teachers to all think like we do, that's part of the world, like everyone here on CM.

I expect more of a high school kid honestly. Besides, how will that kid ever make it in the world if she/ he can't even stand up for something this simple in a class. Other kids can always likely be very offensive... she can walk to the parking lot and they'd be smoking pot too- will she call her parents every time? 

I don't think this situation was handled well at all.

Quoting Jambo4:

Thankfully... a post not about bad cops!

Can't say I really feel all that bad for the teacher.  The piece went through a rough draft stage, which the teacher went over.  It's part of the teacher's job to direct and protect all students from hurtful/hateful speech.  


Billiejeens
by Emerald Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 4:17 PM
1 mom liked this
We already discussed this, I deemed that is was a unique and timely interpretation of Jesus,not offensive, and we moved on.
AdrianneHill
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 4:52 PM
3 moms liked this
I bet dad is proud of his little arrow out of the old quiver. Forget a woman's career was ruined because she didn't censor a student's story. Yay free speech.

I'm in a mood and hope that little girl becomes a pariah.
D-Town
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Wait. She should be fired for being a witch? Is she forcing the kids to conduct spells in class or do you just not like that she has a different belief system? 

Quoting Ziva65:

I missed the part where the teacher went over it first, but either way- this is high school. Shouldnt high school student's be old enough to stand up for themselves and say they are offended and could they please read another paper?

My kids are in high school. We have a teacher who is a professed witch. We are following the process... verbal complaint, written complaint. She's not taking my kids complaints seriously so far- they have been the ones to kindly confront her. She however has no idea who the kids have behind them once we hit that point. I fully expect my kids to stand up for themselves and have trained them to do it, or I'd have never sent them to a public school. (It's not any better in the private ones either incidentally). I will step in when it's appropriate- and have no problem doing so, but why bring out full guns so quick?

But- we are giving this teacher a chance to pull it together, starting off with our kids being kind and direct. If this doesn't work, I really won't feel bad when she loses her job. I don't expect the teachers to all think like we do, that's part of the world, like everyone here on CM.

I expect more of a high school kid honestly. Besides, how will that kid ever make it in the world if she/ he can't even stand up for something this simple in a class. Other kids can always likely be very offensive... she can walk to the parking lot and they'd be smoking pot too- will she call her parents every time? 

I don't think this situation was handled well at all.

Quoting Jambo4:

Thankfully... a post not about bad cops!

Can't say I really feel all that bad for the teacher.  The piece went through a rough draft stage, which the teacher went over.  It's part of the teacher's job to direct and protect all students from hurtful/hateful speech.  



___________________________________________________

How has sound technology come so far & yet the McDonalds drive-thru still sounds like someone is farting into a walkie-talkie.

- Bill Murray
Ziva65
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:16 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm thinking that girl is in for a world of problems if she needs mom and dad in high school to stand up for her...sorry, but daddy screwed up somewhere. Perhaps they should have homeschooled her. JMO.

Quoting AdrianneHill: I bet dad is proud of his little arrow out of the old quiver. Forget a woman's career was ruined because she didn't censor a student's story. Yay free speech. I'm in a mood and hope that little girl becomes a pariah.


Ziva65
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:37 PM

No- not at all, and that's not what I said.

If she fails to follow school rules, which include not fostering ANY religion...despite being warned through proper channels, she may lose her job. Others have. Teachers may not display crosses, etc- and she continually crosses the line intentionally. She's even stated she's tenured and a department head, so she can do what she wants-so who cares. She's been directly told it's offensive, by all 4 of my kids, and numeorus others (some Jewish, some Catholic, others I don't even know). It doesn't matter to me if someone is Hindu, Jewish, Christian or whatever- I wouldn't even want a Christian going off about what he believes during teaching time- they are in a position of authority, and there are federal laws. We have limited teaching time as it is-

So far the issues include: displaying Wiccan symbols and using class time to discuss them. They are left up all year, whereas other teachers have been forced to remove other religious symbols, she has chosen to keep these up. She is a math teacher. It also includes her celebrating various Wiccan holidays- again, not teaching, but celebrating, with dress and symbols. She is a math teacher, new, young and new phd- she thinks she's fabulous.... What irritates me the most actually is  taking away teaching time from math, to discuss these things.

So, if she continues, despite warnings through proper channels- it doesn't matter to me if she loses her job. This month, the principal and superintendent are sitting in her classroom (as they are making routine rounds in all classrooms)... hmm. We'll see. And, so far, I haven't had to say a thing-but when and if I need to I have no problem doing so. I actually think it's a great teaching tool for my kids to stand up for what they believe is right. 

Quoting D-Town:

Wait. She should be fired for being a witch? Is she forcing the kids to conduct spells in class or do you just not like that she has a different belief system? 

Quoting Ziva65:

I missed the part where the teacher went over it first, but either way- this is high school. Shouldnt high school student's be old enough to stand up for themselves and say they are offended and could they please read another paper?

My kids are in high school. We have a teacher who is a professed witch. We are following the process... verbal complaint, written complaint. She's not taking my kids complaints seriously so far- they have been the ones to kindly confront her. She however has no idea who the kids have behind them once we hit that point. I fully expect my kids to stand up for themselves and have trained them to do it, or I'd have never sent them to a public school. (It's not any better in the private ones either incidentally). I will step in when it's appropriate- and have no problem doing so, but why bring out full guns so quick?

But- we are giving this teacher a chance to pull it together, starting off with our kids being kind and direct. If this doesn't work, I really won't feel bad when she loses her job. I don't expect the teachers to all think like we do, that's part of the world, like everyone here on CM.

I expect more of a high school kid honestly. Besides, how will that kid ever make it in the world if she/ he can't even stand up for something this simple in a class. Other kids can always likely be very offensive... she can walk to the parking lot and they'd be smoking pot too- will she call her parents every time? 

I don't think this situation was handled well at all.

Quoting Jambo4:

Thankfully... a post not about bad cops!

Can't say I really feel all that bad for the teacher.  The piece went through a rough draft stage, which the teacher went over.  It's part of the teacher's job to direct and protect all students from hurtful/hateful speech.  



D-Town
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Actually that is what you said which is why I asked for clarification. If she is not following the rules in regards to behavior and her religion, that is one thing. But going through the channels to have someone fired simply because they are a "professed witch." is something completely different. 

Quoting Ziva65:

No- not at all, and that's not what I said.

If she fails to follow school rules, which include not fostering ANY religion...despite being warned through proper channels, she may lose her job. Others have. Teachers may not display crosses, etc- and she continually crosses the line intentionally. She's even stated she's tenured and a department head, so she can do what she wants-so who cares. She's been directly told it's offensive, by all 4 of my kids, and numeorus others (some Jewish, some Catholic, others I don't even know). It doesn't matter to me if someone is Hindu, Jewish, Christian or whatever- I wouldn't even want a Christian going off about what he believes during teaching time- they are in a position of authority, and there are federal laws. We have limited teaching time as it is-

So far the issues include: displaying Wiccan symbols and using class time to discuss them. They are left up all year, whereas other teachers have been forced to remove other religious symbols, she has chosen to keep these up. She is a math teacher. It also includes her celebrating various Wiccan holidays- again, not teaching, but celebrating, with dress and symbols. She is a math teacher, new, young and new phd- she thinks she's fabulous.... What irritates me the most actually is  taking away teaching time from math, to discuss these things.

So, if she continues, despite warnings through proper channels- it doesn't matter to me if she loses her job. This month, the principal and superintendent are sitting in her classroom (as they are making routine rounds in all classrooms)... hmm. We'll see. And, so far, I haven't had to say a thing-but when and if I need to I have no problem doing so. I actually think it's a great teaching tool for my kids to stand up for what they believe is right. 

Quoting D-Town:

Wait. She should be fired for being a witch? Is she forcing the kids to conduct spells in class or do you just not like that she has a different belief system? 

Quoting Ziva65:

I missed the part where the teacher went over it first, but either way- this is high school. Shouldnt high school student's be old enough to stand up for themselves and say they are offended and could they please read another paper?

My kids are in high school. We have a teacher who is a professed witch. We are following the process... verbal complaint, written complaint. She's not taking my kids complaints seriously so far- they have been the ones to kindly confront her. She however has no idea who the kids have behind them once we hit that point. I fully expect my kids to stand up for themselves and have trained them to do it, or I'd have never sent them to a public school. (It's not any better in the private ones either incidentally). I will step in when it's appropriate- and have no problem doing so, but why bring out full guns so quick?

But- we are giving this teacher a chance to pull it together, starting off with our kids being kind and direct. If this doesn't work, I really won't feel bad when she loses her job. I don't expect the teachers to all think like we do, that's part of the world, like everyone here on CM.

I expect more of a high school kid honestly. Besides, how will that kid ever make it in the world if she/ he can't even stand up for something this simple in a class. Other kids can always likely be very offensive... she can walk to the parking lot and they'd be smoking pot too- will she call her parents every time? 

I don't think this situation was handled well at all.

Quoting Jambo4:

Thankfully... a post not about bad cops!

Can't say I really feel all that bad for the teacher.  The piece went through a rough draft stage, which the teacher went over.  It's part of the teacher's job to direct and protect all students from hurtful/hateful speech.  




___________________________________________________

How has sound technology come so far & yet the McDonalds drive-thru still sounds like someone is farting into a walkie-talkie.

- Bill Murray
Ziva65
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 6:05 PM
1 mom liked this

Because she is blatanly breaking the rules. 

I don't care what religion they are- it's her class time, symbols and celebrations on school time that is the problem. No different than if a teacher displays a cross in a classroom (which they can't do even temporarily); and she's a MATH teacher- this isn't a religious class. My kids find it offensive, and are required to sit in class. All she needs to do is back off a bit. But because she is so insesant, and blatant, kids are going after her. 

There are other issues too, so this adds to the list. Theyve been told it will be dealt with , but nothing has happened yet. I'm sure that's a privacy issue which is fine. I just want it to change- just as if I were a teacher who wanted to display a cross...

Quoting Toshwood: Why is your kid's teachers religious practices a problem?
Quoting Ziva65:

I missed the part where the teacher went over it first, but either way- this is high school. Shouldnt high school student's be old enough to stand up for themselves and say they are offended and could they please read another paper?

My kids are in high school. We have a teacher who is a professed witch. We are following the process... verbal complaint, written complaint. She's not taking my kids complaints seriously so far- they have been the ones to kindly confront her. She however has no idea who the kids have behind them once we hit that point. I fully expect my kids to stand up for themselves and have trained them to do it, or I'd have never sent them to a public school. (It's not any better in the private ones either incidentally). I will step in when it's appropriate- and have no problem doing so, but why bring out full guns so quick?

But- we are giving this teacher a chance to pull it together, starting off with our kids being kind and direct. If this doesn't work, I really won't feel bad when she loses her job. I don't expect the teachers to all think like we do, that's part of the world, like everyone here on CM.

I expect more of a high school kid honestly. Besides, how will that kid ever make it in the world if she/ he can't even stand up for something this simple in a class. Other kids can always likely be very offensive... she can walk to the parking lot and they'd be smoking pot too- will she call her parents every time? 

I don't think this situation was handled well at all.

Quoting Jambo4:

Thankfully... a post not about bad cops!

Can't say I really feel all that bad for the teacher.  The piece went through a rough draft stage, which the teacher went over.  It's part of the teacher's job to direct and protect all students from hurtful/hateful speech.  



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