MCCORDSVILLE, Ind. – An Indiana elementary teacher is worried that students who discuss God, Jesus, and the Devil in school could “upset a child/parent” with “different religions and beliefs” and she wants it to stop.
Parents of students at McCordsville Elementary forwarded a letter to Fox 59 sent home by a teacher that targets “about 5 students” who had the audacity to use the words God, Jesus, and the Devil in school, despite her warnings against it.
“School Language: I have had a group of about 5 students using the words God, Jesus, and the Devil in conversation. The first time I had a talk about it with them, unfortunately on a different day the conversation came up again,” the letter read.
“With McCordsville Elementary being a public school, we have many different religions and beliefs, and I do not want to upset a child/parent because of these words being used. If you go to church or discuss these things at home, please have a talk with your child about there being an appropriate time and place of talking about it.”
Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation Superintendent Shane Robbins told the Indianapolis Star the teacher, who was not identified, sent the letter home because the religious talk was causing a classroom disruption, but it did not go over well with some parents.
“There were a handful of parents that contacted us,” he said. “They were offended that we were trying to quiet their children.”
Robbins said the teacher, who is in her second year, jumped the gun by sending home a note to parents, rather than consulting with the principal.
He noted that the school district’s policies and state law ensure that educators neither advance or restrict religious expression at school, but the teacher didn’t fully comprehend that concept.
“From a school vantage point, it was a learning process for a young teacher,” he said.
He also clarified the district’s policies in a prepared statement.
“First and foremost, board policy #8800 outlines religious expression at school by students,” he wrote. “To simply summarize, MVCSC employees can neither advance nor inhibit religious views.
“Trying to limit a student’s view on religion is a violation of a student’s first amendment rights,” the statement continued. “However, if the discussion becomes an academic disruption, then as a district, we can intervene to maintain the integrity of the educational process while at the same time being sure not to violate a student’s constitutional rights.”
“I believe this was a learning experience and an opportunity for us to improve as a school district,” he wrote.
Robbins told the Star the teacher remains in the classroom with the same students.
He discussed the issue with the teacher, but it’s unclear whether she will face any disciplinary action over the incident, Fox 59 reports.