Children Have Rights Too!!!

Christopher Turner, an 11 year old student from Bowden, Georgia, is your every day kid.  He plays basketball down the street with his friends, he is a straight A student, and he likes to go to church every Wed. with his friends because he finds it fun and like to socialize.  What makes a straight A student who loves school to be fearful of returning to school?? Bullying, plain and simple.

When bullying happens it is usually taken care of by the school, but what happens when a mother's cry for help gets no answer? What happens when the faculty at the school are the ones doing the bullying?  Nothing apparently, except for even more discrimination and harassment.

Towards the end of October the Turner family was getting very excited for Halloween, or for them Samhain. For them it is not just a time to get free candy and dress up for a night, but rather it is a holiday to give thanks and to remember ancenstors for the lives they lived. Samhain fell on a Monday, and like any other religious holiday, Christopher did not attend school. The next day Christopher's teacher, Mrs. Ross, pulled him out of class and proceeded to drill him about Paganism, ending the conversation with "Paganism is not a religion." Remember, this is an 11 year old student, with no parent present while being harassed about his religion by someone who is suppose to be an educator.

Christopher's mother, a single mother of three, immediately called the Carroll County Board of Education. She was transferred to Mr. David Goldberg, assistant Superintendent  He apologized and assured her that her son had every right to Freedom of Religion in school. He promised that a meeting would be set up between the teachers of all three of her children with the principal of the school present, but she was never given the opportunity to also be involved in these discussions.  Is this what our school system has come to?  Secret close door meetings about our children, belittling students in front of their peers, pulling 11 year old children out of classrooms in order to bash them for what they believe in?  It's a pretty disgusting way to run our education system, but I guess that's how Carroll County likes it.  Who needs religious freedom anyway? Certainly not Pagans.

It didn't stop there for little Christopher's nightmare.  Thinking the worst was behind, Christoper went back to school, but there was another surprise from Christopher's teacher. On November 29th Mrs. Ross informed her class that they would be doing an essay on "How Christmas started". In the good ol' fashion of history, she informed the class that they couldn't have anything on their report pertaining to Paganism. Intrigued, a female student in Christopher's classroom asked what paganism is.  In response to the question, Mrs. Ross looked directly at Christopher, not the student asking the question, and replied "anything that is non-biblical is paganism." According to David Goldberg, assistant superintendent of Carroll County Board of Education, Christopher was assured religious freedom.  Is this religious freedom?  Can a school force a student to write only about "biblical" essays when his religion is different than that of Christianity?

Understandably, Christopher didn't know what to do, especially when later that day he got suspended on the bus ride home for speaking Spanish.  He was speaking Spanish with other Spanish speaking students and was told by his bus driver, Mr. David Ayers, that he couldn't speak Spanish on the bus. Christopher being part Hispanic, continued speaking with his friends, who were not given the same warning. After being kicked off the bus and being given two day of ISS (in school suspension), his mother was told by the bus driver "If he (Christopher) continues to speak in a language that I can not understand then he will get in trouble." Not only will this 11 year old child be bashed by his teacher for his religion, but now he will get suspended for speaking a language that he has every right to speak. Is this YOUR America??  If you can stand for this type of treatment for our children then our country is in serious trouble.

Since this time, Christopher has been back to school once.  His mother has tried to call his teacher and Mr. Goldberg, but no one will call them back or give them the time of day. Christopher cries every night thinking he has to return to this bullying and discrimination from the same people he feels should be there to protect him. It is sad that with everything children have to overcome in this day and age, that they have to be fearful of the one thing that is there to give them an opportunity in life.  We can not stand for this!

This family is in need of help. Please call and blow up the phone lines and email boxes of the people responsible for leaving this child fearful of attending school.  No one should have to deal with this type of harrasment!
 

Superintendent - Mr. Scott K. Cowart

Phone Number: (770) 832-3568

Email: Scott.Cowart@CarrollCountySchools.com

 

Teacher - Mrs. Connie Ross

Phone Number: (770) 258-2161

Email: Connie.Ross@carrollcountyschools.com

 

Principal - Mrs. Rebecca Waldrep

Phone Number: (770) 258-2161

Email: Rebecca.Waldrep@carrollcountyschools.com

 

Comments

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

HELLO to my friends out there i am testifying about the good work of a man  who help me it has been hell from the day my husband left me i am a woman  with two kids my problem stated when the father of my kids travel i never  help he was living but as at two weeks i did not set my eye on my husband i  try calling but he was not taken my call some week he call me telling me  that he has found love some where easy at first i never take to be serous but day after he came to the house to pick his things that was the time i  notice that things is going bad i help he will come back but things was  going bad day by day i needed to talk to someone about it so i went to his  friend but there was no help so i give it up on him month later i met on  the the internet a spell caster i never believe on this but i needed my men  back so i gave the spell caster my problem at first i never trusted him so i was just doing it for doing sake but after three day my husband called me  telling me that he his coming home i still do not believe but as at the six  day the father to my kids came to the house asking me to for give him the  spell work to said to my self from that day i was happy with my family  thanks to the esango priest of (abamieghe)esango priest he his a great man  you need to try him you can as well to tell him your problem so that he can  be of help to you his content email is this esangopriest@gmail.com indeed  you are a priest thank you for making my home a happy home again.  remember  his email is esangopriest@gmail.com

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 Is there any update on this?What has happened since?

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 

Does anyone have the response from Scott Cowart and David Goldberg saved? I would love to have a copy of this letter, excuse, blah blah blah they posted. I thought I had saved it, but somehow I didn't save their blah blah blah. Please let me know. I have got to see if they practice what they preach... LOL!!!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 

Does anyone have the response from Scott Cowart and David Goldberg saved? I would love to have a copy of this letter, excuse, blah blah blah they posted. I thought I had saved it, but somehow I didn't save their blah blah blah. Please let me know. I have got to see if they practice what they preach... LOL!!!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

There are just too many idiots out there in this world.  I made the mistake in reading the comments and this one struck me:

"Paganism is NOT a religion, it is a choice made by the simple-minded and uneducated."

Religion, in its earliest forms, was made not because of the presence of some supernatural being who would spank you if you did something wrong, but in order to control simple-minded, uneducated and ignorant people.  When they didn't have an answer to one of the questions of the day, such as "Where did we come from," the priests and mystics would make up a seemingly plausible answer that was impossible to prove, but easy enough for those simple-minded people to understand.  This is why most creation stories revolve around whatever was seen in nature or the surroundings.  For example, Christianity being set in a garden would sybolize an oasis to those in the middle east, the dust from which Adam was made was plentiful in those areas, and the serpent as the embodimeent of evil due the the prevelance of asps, adders, and cobra's in that area of the world, who caused death and suffering.   Because of the presence of the omniscient, all-powerful being, all rules were followed because of the threat of something bad happening.

It seems that many people wish to demonize the mom, or the kids for practicing a religion that they themselves don't understand, and in the same breath call paganism "not a real religion."  Yet these are the same Bible-thumpers who don't even understand why they believe what they believe.  Faith without evidence is sheer stupidity.  And before you all get your panties in a bind, and say "there is proof, see," and point to your Bibles, I can counter by picking up a copy of Dyanetics and say "see? proof that we are just a primitive race of creatures who have thetans attached to us, that were placed here millions of years ago by the evil Lord Xenu after destroying all other races of aliens because they wouldn't bow to him."

The bible is a book, written by man.  End of story.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Can someone help  me out? I'm trying to remember the name of a particular death cult. Their central theme is the glorification of an act of human sacrifice. They celebrate this with ritualistic symbolic cannabalism. Their idol is a torture device, which they usually display a large replica of where they meet, and they believe everyone not in their cult deserves to be set on fire. Any ideas?

You also preach tolerance and acceptance, but never, ever follow it. Gluttony is a sin and yet overweight people are allowed to get married while homosexuals are not. You seem think you are a logical, and harmless group. Your cult is the most perverse and hateful on the planet.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

To "Anonymous  - A loyal parent and supporter"

Let us first look at the Webster definition of "religion" shall we? 

1a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

3archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness

4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

 

And here's a wonderful definition from Wiki:

Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.[1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.

 

Contemporary Pagans, of any variety (Wicca, Shamansim, Thelema, Adonism, Druidism, Jewish Wicca, Christian Wicca, Heathenry, Celtic, Egyptian, Slavic, Greek, Roman, Germanic, Ecclectic, and all those in between) all would qualify as a Religion under those definitions.

 

  1. Most Pagans serve and worship a god and/or goddess and/or a variety of gods/goddesses. And are committed and devout to that faith and observance.

  2. Some follow their own private belief system, while others join a larger institutionalized system (an organized denomination) of beliefs and practices

  3. They practice a type of conformity – in that they have shared beliefs of conscientiousness

  4. They often have a shared cause, principle, or system of beliefs, within the variety of different beliefs pagans hold, that are held to with ardor and faith

    By the way – Christians do not hold a monopoly on faith.

 

Some pagans are polytheists – some are monotheists – and some are even atheists.

Symbols and ritual is often very important to Pagans – rituals that you might find very familiar if you are a Christian – such as the lighting of candles, group prayer and singing, alters, the reading of scriptures or text, the use of holy objects, the dramatization or acting out of certain events & narratives – much like the taking of communion and baptisms or the Nativity.

The wiki definition is right on. Pagans try to give a meaning to life and/or explain the origin of life and/or universe. They often look for this meaning in what we understand of ancient cultures, peoples, and religions. What we call mythology today was yesterday's religion. And for many Pagans -- they have found meaning again in those ancient  beliefs. There are narratives, traditions, sacred histories, symbols. There is morality, ethics, and often religious law (Do no harm), and a preferred life style. There is spirituality and faith.

It may not be a religion you approve of. But it IS a religion.

And as aside, contrary to common misconception, paganism does not necessarily mean Satansim. In fact, most denominations of Paganism have little, to nothing to do with Christianity or Satanism. One must actually believe in the Abraham God to believe in the Abrahamic Devil. And even if that were the case, and this family were practicing Satanists – Satanism is ALSO a religion. There are pagan Satanists. Just as there are Pagan Christians and Pagan Jews.

 

Denying a thing's existence does not make it not exist – it just makes you ignorant. If this story were reversed, and let us say this teacher was Jewish or Muslim, and told a Christian child that their religion is nothing more than a cult (which it started out as such – in it's first years of development, Christianity was just another cult among the large variety of others being practiced in the Middle-East at that time – an off-shoot of Judaism) – I suspect you would be up in arms, screaming, ranting and raving about the blatant discrimination of the child's right to practice their own religion and how it is unethical for a teacher to set an assignment and then qualify that it must be written in accordance with the teacher's own religious views, not necessarily the child's or documented, historical facts.

As for your own discriminating and judgmental comments about this mother's single-mother status – wow. You seem to think that if a woman is a single-mother, she is somehow a bad mother. I don't see how her being a single-mother, what her economic status may be, or her level of education has ANYTHING to do with what has been happening in this school district – which seems to be systematic violations of civil liberties and freedom of religion and discrimination against non-Abrahamic religions and other cultures. You will note the mother actually said she wasn't interested in a monetary settlement – simply, a change in attitude by the school.

I suggest you take your own advise – and take a good, long, soul-searching look into a mirror – and ask yourself where this judgmental attitude comes from. At this point, you are just as guilty as this school district in discriminating against a minority religion, single-mothers, economic status, and a person's educational background. You're making a lot of ignorant, bigoted assumptions.Might I suggest you do a little reading on the subject of religion, besides what you might learn in church, before you comment. And those who have typo's and mis-spellings in their own post shouldn't be casting stones about being ignorant or lacking education.
 

And unlike you – I'm not afraid to post my name.

Rebecca Fouts

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

To whom it may concern,

first off I will not rant and rave at the people who want to bad mouth myself or my faith. I respect all faiths and I am only trying to get acceptance and understanding of mine. Let me say this to clear a few things up. Yes I am a single mother but I also have a great support group. My children also have their father in their lives so I am not doing it all on my own and am not resentful that I am a single mother. Also, I have more than just a high school deploma. Paganism is a religion and if people were to look up some facts, open a book... hey you have internet... look up the FACTS on there about my religion. Just to let everyone know that the school has apologized and are taking action to rectify the situation. I am not money hungry so I am not running to a lawyer trying to get anything from this. All I want from this is the school to uphold my childs civil rights. No matter what religion, nationality, sexual orientation we should all as human beings be respected for what we believe in. I am sorry that some people as I have seen on these posts do not believe this. But I will send you good energy and pray for you. In the end you will see what harm your negativity brings to others. To everyone who has showed support for my son and my family through this... THANK YOU!!  

may you all  be blessed, the ones who have showed positive support and for those who have chose to be blind to others rights.

Thank you all.

BB

The Turner Family

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Paganism is NOT a regligion. Though recognized by the Federal government, it doesn't make it so.

As for my teachers doing their job, I suggest that you read the context of my post again. "Principles" refers to the key people involved in the situation. Buy a dictionary moron.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 To "Anonymous" who posted thursday 12-15 @ 8:58:

 

You should check your own spelling. The proper spelling in this context is "Principal" not "Principle". You are ignorant, and your teachers obviously did a great job.

Paganism is a religion, recognized by the Federal Government as such. Do a little homework.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

While a teacher, faculty member, or any responsible adult should never mistreat a child, I have to say that some things are taken to the extreme sometimes. As a parent, it's hard enough to raise a child in this world as a married couple. The challenges that face a single parent are doubly tough.


Let us take into consideration first and foremost who is educating these children at home.  Since parental caregiving directly relates to  social graces and ettiquette, we need to look there first as the primary source of the underlying issue.


A single parent that is a mother of three has things tough enough. Money is always an issue with raising kids, there's never enough time in the day for routine things, and I am sure that there's no time for enough sleep for the mom. I am sure the kids are typical kids, getting into all kinds of things that kids do. It is the way of the world.....kids are kids and they should be allowed to be kids.


The problem here is an overbearing parent who's looking for a matchup somewhere. She's apparently got an axe to grind and probably upset with the fact that she's alone raising children. It's not enough to bother teachers, the superintendent, and the principles; let's waste more of the taxpayers money on this ridiculous rant about Paganism. Paganism is NOT a religion, it is a choice made by the simple-minded and uneducated. If you don't believe it, read the petition and see the misspelling of the city of Bowdon. I rest my case.


While I am sympathetic to the mother's plight in protecting the child, I would have to say that the first thing I would do is take a look in the mirror to see if the root of the problem wasn't staring me in the face. I would suggest getting a Bible, an education, and a grip on reality. It will only make you better in the end and will save me tons of tax dollars.


God Bless and, Carroll County teachers................please keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Signed,


A loyal parent and supporter


 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I willingly open myself up for discrimination here, but I will openly admit that I am a Christian.
DO NOT LET THAT MEAN THAT THIS NEXT STATEMENT DOESN'T MATTER.

I DO NOT AGREE, IN ANY WAY, WITH THE TREATMENT OF THIS CHILD. I, as a christian, delt with almost the exact issue when in Junior High. Sadly, by a wiccan practicer. This did not change my opinion of her religous views or lifestyle. She, just like anyone, has the right to her beliefs and a right to a normal life without ridicule. It did change my view of her as a person, but not as a member of any particular religous group.

I cry knowing that some of the most descriminatory people in our world, are Christians or any subsect of Christianity.


THE WORST PART IS THAT THIS ISN'T A RELIGOUS HOLIDAY!!! This is a Gealic holiday in celebration of the end of the summer. Also known as another way to celebrate the new year.

Having a Spanish/Hispanic friend... I FIND IT TERRIBLE THAT HE, WHILE TALKING WITH OTHER HISPANIC CHILDREN, WOULD BE THE ONLY ONE IN TROUBLE... THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!

 

My sincerest apologies to the mother and children. I apologize for my entire religion and any subsect therein. I apologize for America... THIS IS WRONG... And I'm sorry, from the depths of my heart, I am truely sorry.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I marvel at these continual demonstrations of the "Christian" version of Sharia law- this might as well have happened in the Sudan or Afghanistan. It's all the same cruel bigotry, intolerance, and stupidity on display- just different geography, coded religious language, and excuses. There is nothing in the teachings of Jesus Christ that condones this kind of small minded stupidity and selfishness.

If this teacher wants so badly to teach Sunday school, let her quit and go do so- for the going rate. Don't fire her- Divine forbid she collect one cent of [government-funded, secular] unemployment for her inane unprofessionalism and quasi-spiritual efforts.

I use the word "quasi-spiritual" quite deliberately. If the woman is not an ordained minister, she has no business preaching in the first place. And if what she's "teaching" is not predicated in historical context, logic, and truth, she has no business teaching, either.

Get that woman away from those children before she does any more harm. The mystical magus, radical opponent of the Establishment Religion of his time, and tolerant educator [of even those who didn't belong to his Jewish faith] named Jesus would have wanted it that way.

As for the bus driver? Words fail.   %D

~Jennifer Hathaway, ordained minister [and high priestess of Abhalon]

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This bothers me more than I can explain because my nephew will be starting school in this district in the next few years.  My family is VERY culturally/religiously diverse.  I am a Pagan Native American, my brother is Greek Luthern, another brother is Athiest Native, my sister is a Wiccan Native, my father's family is Irish Catholic, and my ex-husband is Israeli Jew.  We teach the children in our family to find their true religion.  To see it forced on anyone is...disturbing.  Plus...according to my Luthern brother his church acknowledges Christmas' Pagan roots.  Of course, his church also works with a Temple to host a Passover for the Messianic, so...yeah.  Sadly this article has pretty much cemented my brother and sister-in-law's decision to homeschool their children, just as I do with mine.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

  1. To the School Board of Gerogia, I dedicate this song to you!!!! I am a Veteran of the U.S. Navy and I did not fight to protect your rights to be racist or practice Religious Discrimination!!!! I am Pagan and I am Proud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRagep7AOpk

Rev. MoonChild

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This really needs to be sent to newspapers and news outlets OUTSIDE of Georgia which appears to still be in the dark ages. 

The so called "educators" involved need to lose their jobs.  And I would suggest, pay damages.

Hopefully, there will be a civil trial and they WILL pay damages. 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I am hoping that this Mom is looking at the comments on this article.  I was going to try to get her help she may not know is available, but because of the restrictions....   Well she will have to contact them herself.  She needs to contact the ACLU of Georgia.  I believe that they would take on this case because what is being done is a textbook definition of discrimination, and this discrimination is being done on many levels, not the least being religion.  Please someone forward this to her.  They can be reached at

ACLU of Georgia

Executive Director: Debbie Seagraves

1900 The Exchange SE, Building 400, Suite 425
Atlanta, GA 30339

Phone: (770) 303-9966 | Fax: (770) 303-0060 | Email: info@acluga.org
Web: http://www.acluga.org

If any of these teachers or school officials are looking....  THIS IS WRONG!  and you know it.  If you don't understand the religion, get educated.  It's not hard to do and it starts with asking questions and getting answers from an ADULT!  To not do so is irresponsible and, since it is assumed you claim to be Christian, un-Christian.  If you have a problem with his "race"...  He is of the HUMAN race.  Is there any other to be considered?

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

After reading a few of the comments, it's starting to seem clear that those within the local school system may have no intention of dealing with this matter, and will instead  try to "wait out" the initial barrage of emails and phone calls.


So I just spent a bit of time on the Georgia Department of Education website.  http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/


The teacher and bus-driver are likely in violation of The Georgia Bullying Law, O.C.G.A. 20-2-751.4, section (a), subsection (3), sub-subsections (B), and (C).  Although, what's posted online specifically names fellow students as the potential perpetrators.  http://www.gadoe.org/sia_titleiv.aspx?PageReq=SIABully


Contacts for the Safe and Drug-Free Schools division are:
Jeff Hodges, Education Administration Specialist
(404) 463-7891
Fax:  (404) 463-0441
Email: jhodges@doe.k12.ga.us
and
Marilyn O. Watson, Program Manager
(404) 651-7179
Fax:  (404) 463-0441
Email: mawatson@doe.k12.ga.us


I'm going to split this up a bit, so it's not quite so overwhelming...

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

As a teacher and a Christian I have to say that I am outraged at this ridiculous abuse of power.  Students should be able to trust their teachers and feel safe in the classroom.  We worry that our students are being bullied on the playground or now, online, but to add the additional stress of worrying about the teachers is crazy.  Putting aside the separation of Church and state, if these teachers need to reread the standards that they are held to as licensed teacher.  Some of the GA Educator standards state:


"A Culturally Responsive Classroom ─ Classroom environment where teaching has the following characteristics:



  • Acknowledges the legitimacy of the cultural heritages of different ethnic groups, both as legacies that affect students' dispositions, attitudes, and approaches to learning and as worthy content to be taught in the formal curriculum.
     

  • Builds bridges of meaningfulness between home and school experiences as well as between academic abstractions and lived socio-cultural realities.
     

  • Teaches students to know and praise their own and each others' cultural heritages. Incorporates multicultural information, resources, and materials in all of the
    subjects and skills routinely taught in schools."

This is just one of the many instances that many states, including GA have describing the classroom environment.  Besides the fact these teachers were ostracizing an 11 year old boy for his religion, as educators they have a responsibility to this student and his experience in school.


I teach in a small Catholic school and I can say with all sincerity that this would not happen at even our school.  We have students of several different religions in our school and in my classroom.  There has never been a time when I have stopped my students from sharing their own experiences as a part of the class discussion.  To those teachers and administratiors: It's not your job to pass judgement.  It's your job to educate.  Reread your state's standards for teachers, you might learn something.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Yes we had teachers who bullied. My brother stuttered a lot in middle school and one of the teachers would mock him. One of my friends was a football player. He and some of the other players put the teacher's car between two trees and the teacher had to pay a wrecker service to get it out.

As for the bus driver he did not handle the situation properly. I can understand that he needs to know what the kids were talking about. But all need to be cautioned to speak where the driver could make sure nothing was going on.

I hope the child understands that Christ did not want his followers to be cruel. He set the example to speak and teach because when you do what was done to that child it binds theheart in steel that can turn to hate. 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I was bullied by teachers in school. First grade, I was smarter than my teacher's child, bored silly in class, and she would never answer when I asked why she wouldn't let me be creative with my art and writing assignments. Instead of accepting it she punished me for it. She was constantly making us do dull busy work, if it had a purpose she never explained it. She punished me for questioning her and called me a pathological liar. That was the beginning.

In third grade grade my teacher was a holy roller made us pray every day. She gave "birthday spankings" with the corporal punishment paddle. When I refused to submit to my "birthday spanking" she became angry, screamed at me and proceeded to chase me around the room to "punish" me for my disobedience. By 4th grade i had a reputation for being "difficult". The teacher had all the future cheerleaders seated right against his desk, literally touching it. The future ball players right behind them and the "rejects" in the back. He ignored us unless he wanted to stand us up in front of the class and humiliate us, critiquing our songs for the music contest, our intelligence or wardrobe even. By then the other students were frequently bullying me and the other "rejects" too. I had learned not to tell on them because I was the one spanked, suspended or in detention over it. In fact the teacher found a reason to spank me everyday. He is now principle of the grade school I went to.

I was staunchly a christian in my school years. There was no obvious reason or anomaly that singled me out for the bullying. Before third grade I didn't really have trouble with other students. Part of the reason I turned away from christianity was the way these supposedly christian people acted. The institutional hypocrisy was too much for me. I am now a witch. Now I understand why I was different than other people. I was born able to sense things that other people couldn't and for that my church said I was bad. I learned how to "see" people for what they really were from being placed outside society by my teachers and peers. But I'd rather have had a normal school life.

I made it. It wasn't easy. But standing up for yourself is essential. You may be punished but if you are right it is worth it. Stay strong.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 Ok, I, the (sort-of Christian), just made two calls and was transfered once..  First thing: the Superintendant's office is the only one taking calls at all.  Second, they are only saying that they're dealing with the situation in an appropriate manner, it's being investigated, and for legal reasons they can't comment further on it.  Third, someone who takes calls like mine is supposed to call me back later to comment further on this.  I have my doubts about that, but we'll see.

I just told them I'd like to hear their side of the story, because this is a big deal, which the woman I finally spoke with agreed to.  I asked if there was going to be anything posted that gives their side, and was told that it wasn't clear if they'd be able to do that.

1.  Sounds like a true story to me.
2.  Sounds like they don't directly want to deal with this openly, from the get-go.  No transparancy here.
3.  Sounds practiced to me.

I am outraged that this story happened.  The fact that they don't have a prepared statement (this story is days old now) that gives their side tells me they don't really have a leg to stand on here.  Also that they don't take it seriously enough.

I say, Occupy the areas surrounding the school.  Stick up for this kid who's been bullied.  Don't back down until the school apologises to him and his family, and they have ousted this teacher, as well as put better policies in place for dealing with harassment like this.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

The problem is that they're acting like this is a private school or something?  What happened to separation of church and state?

I'm a Christian (sort of), and I find this whole thing appauling.  First of all, the harassment is inhumane, regardless of what religion it's being done in the name of.  Second, the teacher is -withholding- vital information from -all- the students, from our world's history.  Third, this goes against the teachings of Jesus, who (fourthly) is a Jew (born of a Jewish woman; once a Jew, always a Jew, as the Jewish saying goes).  Fifth, there probably are other non-Christian children in Christopher's class, who may or may not be Hispanic, but if he's the only one who is Hispanic and non-Christian, being taught by a non-Spanish speaking teacher who toughts "Christianity" (a possibility), then this may really be a case of double-discrimination: he may simply be seen as "inferior" (in her eyes) to herself and to the rest of the class.

I'm not sure what the best way to address this situation actualy is.  I do feel it's important to ensure that all the facts are correct.  It's hard to do that when you're not part of the situation.  Honestly, this story sounds about 80% unbelievable, considering the reputation that public schools have for being places that wish to be free, completely, from -all- religious references.  If public schools are teaching Christianity, then why bother sending kids to private "Christian" schools (who treat children, of any belief, even the school's religion, no better than this)?  Why waste the money?

I'm going to call the school, tell them I'm a Christian, and ask for their version of events.  How they respond to that will give me vital info, because I'm a -very good listener-.  I'll post the results here, if I can get through.  I recommend other Christians who read this do the same.  I think that will help us all figure out what's really going on here.  It just seems like there's more to the story than meets the eye.  I don't doubt that a "Christian" teacher would do this -- I'm just really baffled by the idea of this happening in a public school, not a private one.  I was put through private schools, not public.  Was I incorrectly informed of what life in the public school system is really like?  If so, I can only say my parents wasted THOUSANDS of dollars on abusive baby-sitting, 'cause that's all it was.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Hi. I am actually a believer of God...granted a mixed-matched up version of one, but I was so upset by this that it still sits in my stomack like a cancer. So I got angry and emailed one of the contacts. Was that a good idea? I thought it is and was, but I'm not sure if the way I approached it was. I was so angry I started spewing things about the bible and I spoke of emotional abuse, which is what I believe bullying and discrimation is. I think when dealing with something like this...we need to step back, breath, and deal with the problem calmly. Well, as calmly as possible. Obviously, with a child at stake it's not as easily done. I hope, though, this does work out.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Our children should be raised and schooled in a non bias atmosphere,which should include no bullying based on preordain faith of a bigoted school teacher or bus driver. 

I worked in the medical community as a emergency trauma nurse and a hospice nurse case manager until my retirement. No time during my work on or off duty did i restrict my care or passion for everyone rights to good health care and caring compassion. Many times i was ask why i did not treat the rapist,murders,and extremist of faith (pagans and forgein cultures- muslims) differently. The Goddess teach us to do NO HARM. iT IS THE BASIS OF OUR PAGAN WICCAN FAITH...

A CONCERN WICCAN AND NURSE...

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 Freedom of Religion means ANY Religion182

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This is the reason I can't stand the religious nutjobs in the country! I'm all for support of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but that's just it: GIVE THE KID SOME FUCKING FREEDOM! Why are teachers, of all people, trying to force their own faith on kids when there is SUPPOSED to be a seperation of church and state?!


 


This Ross character needs to get her head out of her ass and shut the fuck up!


 


To the kid (assuming he or his folks ever read this little rant of mine), stay strong and don't listen to these arrogant dicks. They mean you harm and you deserve to live and pray as you damn well please! Whichever path you choose to walk is up to you; keep your chin up and stride on through.


 


Signed,


Pissed off Wiccan

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I agree that this is terrible, if proven true. But what may be just as bad is that the writer posts the name of this 11-year old boy... but does not mention the name of the mother. Not that either is necessary, but the writer certainly opens the boy up to more un-wanted attention.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

My heart goes out to this young man, and his family for even having to deal with such nonsense. School is supposed to be a safe place to send out children. Why is the system not protecting this young man? Why is this teacher still teaching our children?

I live in McDonough Ga, I am infuriated by this. If I can help by sending letters, emails, phone calls etc... let me know. jaypat31304@yahoo.com

I dont know where this stands as of today, so Im reaching out to the mother of this young man to let me know.

A prayer has been sent to surround your family with protection. Blessings

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 Bullying students for their religion is an act of terrorism.  The Patriot Act should be inforced here as well.  These are serious violations of the U.S. Constitution.  There must be consequences.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I noticed in the comments that the mother of the child in question is reading these, and I hope she still is...

Ms. Turner and Christopher:

My heart goes out to you for all you have dealt with.  Please, do not let these backwards, simple-minded louts color your view of the world.  Please, also, do not think all Christians are as ignorant and self-involved as this teacher has shown herself to be.  I am also a Christian, although I don't think my Christianity has much to do with what she seems to practice.  Perhaps, someday, all Christians will learn to better emulate the Christ they claim to follow.

I am also an anthropologist, and seeing any type of cultural discrimination frustrates and saddens me completely.  Christopher, you have a right to speak whatever language you wish to speak with your friends, whether it be Spanish, English, or some made-up thing you devised on the playground!  If there are several Spanish-speaking children on that driver's route, might I suggest the parents getting together on a carpool and showing the school board you will not entrust the care of your child to someone like that driver?

I hope you hear back soon from the ACLU.  This is definitely something they should take on.  I have shared the Change.org petition with all my friends on Facebook, many of whom I know will support you in this.

Good luck and Blessed Be,

Melissa

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

To the person who came out with the comment that she hoped those who commented were comfortable with their remarks, and that the incident was researched before we commented against the establishment:

I am completely comfortable with my comments.  Here's why:

I went to a private, Catholic school growing up.  As kids at that school, we learned that Pagans were poor, uneducated, third world country families, who needed our help.  We even sent around what was called a "rice bowl" to collect money "for these poor pagan souls."  When I was a student at the school....I didnt realize I was Pagan.  However, as I grew up, I began to explore who I was, and began to understand myself.  At first, because of the image I had of "Pagans", formed from these experiences, I was suppressing my very being.  This was because it felt like I was an abhorrance.

It took YEARS, (and it wasn't until college) that I actually got the true picture of what being Pagan is....and once I did, I finally felt like I was ok. I was a viable person...with beliefs that were of value, and it was ok for me to be me.

Those teachers shaped my opinion of myself. And not in a good way.  I don't think they truly comprehended the power they held over our impressions as kids. Is it really OK for a teacher to ever put anyone at all beneath the student they teach? Whether it be another culture/belief system, or another student?  I don't think so.  It doesnt even matter if the teacher himself/herself FEELS like these cultures are less than themselves, I don't want them giving that impression to my kids.

I don't know about you....but when it comes to a student/teacher relationship, it stands to reason that the student should be acknowleged, held up and accepted. Not singled out....THAT I believe is the issue here. That, and the teacher was insisting something be done in such a way that the student was not free to express himself.....NOT in a manner that allowed the kids to research things on their own, and learn about the history behind the holiday.  Maybe the teacher was afraid to learn about it herself....but before giving such an assignment, a teacher SHOULD explore the background behind it.   Not put part of it out of his or her mind, simply because it is uncomfortable.

You in your assumption that we are all ignorant and don't realize that we havent gotten the whole story, are in a way, approaching all of us in much the same way this teacher did with Christopher.  You not only insult our intelligence, you put down Christopher's mom, saying she probably didnt confirm what occured, before reacting. Do you KNOW she didnt research it?  If not, then don't make that kind of assumption....
 

The article itsf shows she HAS researched it. It also in the comments made after the article, shows that ONE school official IS acknoweging the event, and has been helpful.  Hopefully, as you wanted to point out to us....you will be less likely to jump yourself, without thought and consideration of all the documentation provided.

 

Sincerely,

Kristin

 

 

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 Mr. Cowart, Ms. Ross, and Ms. Waldrep,

     As if this country is not shredded enough by civil unrest, the South taking beatings on every front, and the issue of bullying in schools right at the forefront of the news, you all have managed to exemplify and implement the worst, most un-American values possible by the mistreatment of this child and the suspension and abuse of his civil rights, making us look like the ignorant, close-minded people that the rest of our nation and the world thinks we are. You should be ashamed. As educators, children, parents, our country and the world depend on you all to educate, guide and support our most precious resource. Instead, the Carroll County Board of Education now has a national reputation not only for abusing children, but for disregarding human rights in general, and for behaving like sneaky, underhanded, uneducated, barbarous "rednecks". Intelligent, enlightened, caring, Southerners have been fighting this brutal stereotype for centuries now, and while we can forgive - or at least forget - a single individual or small, misguided group, it is impossible to overlook an entire school systems' hideous crime, especially when news of it is spreading like wildfire across the television, radio and internet. 
     And as bad as all of this is, it's still a small thing compared to the injustice of a child in pain at the hands of the people he is supposed to trust. Shame on you. This IS child abuse.
     I encourage you strongly to address this problem realistically, and not with some quick-fix, surface repair. I am writing to the Georgia Board of Education and the National Board of Education, and encouraging everyone I know to do so as well. We are also discussing raising a group to come stage a peaceful protest in Carroll County in support of Christopher and his family. Before this is over, you may have whole covens of pagans on your Courthouse lawn, and I know the national media will love that.
     I think the most disparaging thing of all is that you call yourselves Christians and abuse this child in the name of Christ. I sincerely hope that when you find yourselves in the same position as poor Christopher, you truly understand that these are not Christ-like ways, and that you are giving Christians and Christianity a bad name as well. The world is watching you now. I sincerely hope you do the right thing.
- S. L. Lovelace
 
Contact info for GA board of Education:
Erin Elmore
Associate Superintendent
404.656.2510
404.657.7840
human.resources@doe.k12ga.us
 
National Department of education:  
202-401-2000.
Spanish speakers are available (se habla español).
Toll free: 1-800-872-5327

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Why are the school district and school board/board of education allowing this to continue when they obviously know that the teacher is in the wrong and is violating this child's Constitutionally protected rights? It is disgusting that some people think it necessary to force others to convert to their religion and denomination. Isn't that what we're supposedly fighting against over in the Middle East? Yet, here the Carroll County School District is allowing a teacher to bully a young student for not worshiping as she thinks he should. Can you not see what is wrong with this picture?!

At the very least, Christopher and his mother are owed a public apology from the teacher and the school administration, as well as the superintendent of schools, and the bullying should cease immediately. If this doesn't happen and happen immediately, I sincerely hope Christopher's mother will contact the ACLU and sue the school district for denying her son his Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

As for the teacher who is doing the bullying, I hope she is fired forthwith, because it is obvious that she should not be teaching in a public school anywhere in the United States of America. Her behavior is the kind of garbage I expect from the Taliban in Afghanistan, not an elementary school teacher in Georgia.

Yovonne Autrey
Ocean Shores, WA

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

  I believe that the teacher in question must have slept through the part where we The United States of America has a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that give anyone here the right to practice their own religion free of harassment. Besides making a stink she has broken the law.  Why she is allowed to continue teaching is criminal.  She should be in JAIL. and I am sending their story to the Supreme Court action group perhaps they should know and the Georgia State Department of education  should know too after all they are in charge. Are they too advocating that their school teachers are not going to practice what our government gave us the rights to do : practice religion freely and openly with out fear of retribution.

   My family's friend was sent to prison in China in 1952, because he was practicing his religion, Christianity.   There are not many countries that give a person the rights we have as American  citizens.   My friends grandfather hid his bible in Russia, He lived in fear till he got to come to America.  when he became an American citizen. 

The bus driver is a "redneck idiot" who probably has not been out of Carroll County in his life, there are a lot of them around. He needs to be fired too.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I am going to assume you are not a parent and if you are, have never experienced this. Well, Iam a both: a parent AND experienced this and I am sure if you check ANY phone directory or school website, you will find the contact information for these people. I have seen the discrimination of Pagans first hand and how what we believe is not protected under our constitution. If you are a parent, I hope you believe your child when they come to you about being bullied. Or do you work for said school district? Maybe the teacher in question?

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Wow… I hope everyone checked their facts before condemning this school system and its staff.

All too often we jump to the aid of the parent as it is just assumed that the larger institution must be the bully. We point to examples in the media such as this one (although I hesitate to consider this credible media) as evidence that the school system or organization must be to blame… How may individuals have made false or exaggerated claims; I think we can find just as many examples or more.

I hope that everyone that commented feels comfortable with their comments and they have done their research.

I see the contact information for the accused (are they really innocent until proven guilty?) Where is the contact information for the accuser? Should we not be able to ask questions or offer more than blind “anonymous” support? You may be surprised at what you find when you consider both sides…

This comment is not to suggest this parent is wrong or the school guilty…simply it is a call to fact check! If so many of us value the rights of children (as we should) we may want to value the rights of the adults that work hard to care for them!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I am a Pagan parent and find this absolutely horrid! How can a person, regardless of what they believe do this to anyone, let alone a CHILD! I have been where Mrs. Turner and Christopher are as I live in Virginia and have dealt with closeminded people on every turn. I think Mrs. Turner is making a wise decision of looking into home schooling little Christopher and not making him go back to that awful place. I home school my children because of the discrimination and bullying in the schools here. I am so proudof Christopher for standing up for what he believes in! Many kids would back down and be subserviant. For me and my family, we are sending tons of positive energies the family's way through this difficult ordeal! I am also sending some strongly worded emails. Anyone who doesn't know much about Paganism, go here: www.religioustolerance.org. Amazingly, it is a site NOT created by Pagans, but, tells the truth about us and our traditions, rituals, beliefs, and holy days. Grey School of Wizardy, get ready for a new family! Bright Blessing, Christopher!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Hi everyone,

I've created a petition on Change.org based on this content.  This website is extremely well-known for its ability to effect real positive change, so if we get a good number of people to sign it, they'll have no choice but to respond!

Each signature sends an email to each of the three people noted here (teacher, principal, superintendent) and by gaining notoriety on Change.org, we can start getting some national attention.

Thanks for reading, and here's the link!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Ignorance at its finest (worst).  This is disgusting to me since I'm not a Christian myself and would be furious if someone treated me this way.  When will people realize that it's okay to believe in what you believe?

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Tried to send this to the teacher, but the email was disabled.

 

To Mrs. Connie Ross,

One of the greatest things about America is that our Constitution legally ensures us certain unalienable rights, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion, and that the idea we have these certain unalienable rights have fostered a culture which not only tolerates but celebrates diversity. It's for this very reason I'm appalled to hear of your treatment of young Christopher Tanner.

Putting aside the fact that Halloween does incorporate many pagan traditions, that Samhain is an actual pagan tradition, and that paganism is indeed a set of religions which goes even further back than Christianity, instilling one's own religious beliefs on students is not the job of the educator. Their job is to open their eyes to the world, teach them about what is out there - whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Zoroastrian or Atheist - and let them make their own judgement. Educators teach how to think critically and be open-minded, not to impose their own beliefs on their students, especially at young and impressionable ages. If not, we simply get drones who only parrot what they've been fed, speaking but not understanding.

Paganism is a religion steeped in as many, if not more traditions and customs than Christian orthodoxies like ours. And points they've intersected; praying to saints stems from pagan traditions. The world is much too large to force into a Judeo-Christian perspective. Treat Mr. Tanner's religion with respect, and maybe more people will treat ours with more respect in return.

Also, Christmas is probably not Jesus' true birthday. His true birthday is unknown, and Christmas is probably set to coincide with the Roman winter solstice or some other ancient winter festival, which was most likely pagan. Ergo, telling your students that they can't write about anything pagan is either ignorance or censorship. Neither is very good; as an educator, you probably know this.

To the celebration of diversity,
A Roman Catholic

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I tried to send this to the three e-mail addresses, but it got filtered out.

Mrs. Rebecca Waldrep, Mrs. Connie Ross, Mr. Scott K. Cowart,

I've recently read about a series of incidents in your schjool regarding the bullying of 11 year old Christopher Turner for his religious practtices.
Specifically being told that Paganism is "not a religion" and to write an essay about the origins of Christmas without referring to "non-biblical"
stories.

If these accounts are true, I'm appalled that a public school teacher, representing the state as an employee, is either this deeply ignorant of the law or so willing to disregard the establishment clause of the First Amendment as a public employee. There is so much settled case law regarding this kind of behavior that I expect the ACLU or other groups will be lining up to take this on as a civil case. I'll be among the first in line to donate to the legal fund. Any teacher that is either that ignorant or conciously willing to engage in that kind of behavior is unfit to lead a classroom.

Secondly, the pre-Christian roots of common Christmas symbols are also well established. Misletoe, the Yule tree, holly and pine wreathes, the close parallels with the Roman cult of Mithras - others, too many to list here - are well known and easily reesearched. Anyone who claims to have enough background and understanding to teach about Christmas, should understand this. It appears that Mrs. Ross is again, either out of her depth, or willfully disregarding the subject matter and inserting her own biases in an attempt to establish her religion in a taxpayer funded classroom, by browbeating an 11 year old in front of his peers. Shame on you Connie Ross.
Are you so small minded that you have to get your jollys emotionally beating up on an 11 year old for having a different religion? Is your religion so small and impotent that the alleged creator of heaven and earth needs you to bully kids?

At the very least a public apology to both Christopher Turner and his mother are in order and severe disciplinary action regarding Mrs. Ross's actions, including a review of her fitness for remaining certified as a teacher.  If the accounts of her actions are true, Mrs. Ross clearly needs remedial eduction in both First Amendment Law and the history of religion. If this is what passes for teaching, it's no wonder this once great country is becoming a third world nation. I add my voice to the many calling for her resignation.

The world will be watching your response to this issue.

Sincerely,


Christopher Bingham, Snohomsih WA.
 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I tried to send this to the three e-mail addresses, but it got filtered out.

Mrs. Rebecca Waldrep, Mrs. Connie Ross, Mr. Scott K. Cowart,

I've recently read about a series of incidents in your schjool regarding the bullying of 11 year old Christopher Turner for his religious practtices.
Specifically being told that Paganism is "not a religion" and to write an essay about the origins of Christmas without referring to "non-biblical"
stories.

If these accounts are true, I'm appalled that a public school teacher, representing the state as an employee, is either this deeply ignorant of the law or so willing to disregard the establishment clause of the First Amendment as a public employee. There is so much settled case law regarding this kind of behavior that I expect the ACLU or other groups will be lining up to take this on as a civil case. I'll be among the first in line to donate to the legal fund. Any teacher that is either that ignorant or conciously willing to engage in that kind of behavior is unfit to lead a classroom.

Secondly, the pre-Christian roots of common Christmas symbols are also well established. Misletoe, the Yule tree, holly and pine wreathes, the close parallels with the Roman cult of Mithras - others, too many to list here - are well known and easily reesearched. Anyone who claims to have enough background and understanding to teach about Christmas, should understand this. It appears that Mrs. Ross is again, either out of her depth, or willfully disregarding the subject matter and inserting her own biases in an attempt to establish her religion in a taxpayer funded classroom, by browbeating an 11 year old in front of his peers. Shame on you Connie Ross.
Are you so small minded that you have to get your jollys emotionally beating up on an 11 year old for having a different religion? Is your religion so small and impotent that the alleged creator of heaven and earth needs you to bully kids?

At the very least a public apology to both Christopher Turner and his mother are in order and severe disciplinary action regarding Mrs. Ross's actions, including a review of her fitness for remaining certified as a teacher.  If the accounts of her actions are true, Mrs. Ross clearly needs remedial eduction in both First Amendment Law and the history of religion. If this is what passes for teaching, it's no wonder this once great country is becoming a third world nation. I add my voice to the many calling for her resignation.

The world will be watching your response to this issue.

Sincerely,


Christopher Bingham, Snohomsih WA.
 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 Dear Christopher:

I've heard tell of your situation all the way up here in Canada and I'm very sorry that you've been treated so poorly. Your teacher is wrong, as you know - Pagan beliefs certainly are valid spiritual choices. She had no business talking to you that way (or in any way about that!) and as a public school teacher, she really ought to know better. 

I don't know what was up with your bus driver and his insistance that you speak only in english - coming from a country with two official languages, I find his behaviour very strange.

Please know that lots of people support you - there are many, many Pagan families who are very unimpressed with the behaviour of these adults around you.

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I find it hilarious that Christopher was penalized for speaking Spanish on the bus, (during a private conversation which was really none of the bus drivers damn business anyhow), while my school tried from 7th grade on to teach me Spanish.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I sent a link of this article to the goup Americans United for the Seperation of Church and State.  They have people that may be able to help you.


Please contact them if you have any further questions! 


www.au.org


Wishing you a Blessed Holiday this Yule Season!


MomOf3

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 It's insane that this should be allowed to happen anywhere.  Religious practices should be a totally separate entity from school in every way, in no way should they be connected.  This teacher is a horrible person for treating such a young boy in a disrespectful and discriminatory way, no one so ignorant and culturally insensitive should be allowed to influence children.

And on the subject of cultural insensitivity, that bus driver is also totally out of line... they should both be fired without hesitation, those kinds of attitudes should not exist in children's educations.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Out of curiosity, has anyone who has e-mailed heard back on the issue via e-mail?

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I just got done sending e-mails to Scott Cowart and Rebecca Waldrep.

Mr. Cowart:

I am contacting you in response to the erroneous actions of Mrs. Connie Ross towards her student, Christopher Turner. She is an educator at a public school and thus has a duty to educate and protect her pupils, not bully and discriminate against them because they have a religion different from her own. She is in violation of Christopher's First Amendment rights to the Freedom of Religion. Moreover, she should not be attempting to teach Christian mythos in a public institution! This is entirely unacceptable and illegal behavior and she should be dealt with accordingly. This woman should be fired! Likewise, so should any of her peers that are helping to foster this kind of environment, such as the school bus driver, David Ayers, who singled Christopher out, kicked him off the bus, and assigned him in school suspension for speaking Spanish to other children who were also speaking Spanish on the bus. No child should be subjected to these kinds of violations. Christopher and all future students should be protected from this harassment and I hope to see you stand up to protect their best interests.

 

Mrs. Waldrep:

I am contacting you in response to the discrimination that a student attending your school, Christopher Turner, has endured by his teacher, Connie Ross, and his bus driver, David Ayers. Christopher has every right to Freedom of Religion, as per the First Amendment. Connie Ross is in violation of his rights. Not only has she attempted to teach her own religious principles within a public institution, she has openly discriminated against this boy on multiple occasions! Religious discrimination should not be dealt with lightly. Both Connie Ross and the bus driver, David Ayers, who singled out Christopher and suspended him for speaking Spanish on the bus should be fired. They have abused their authority and this is unacceptable. You have a duty to Christopher and all future students to protect them from this type of abuse of power and I'm imploring you to do so. I've already contacted Superintendent Cowart on this issue and I hope to see it promptly resolved, including appopriate apologies issued to Christopher and his mother.

I'm still trying to decide on the best approach to e-mailing the teacher responsible. I wrote a rough draft, but I feel that I should cool off and revise it later. I definitely hope that Christopher's mother is able to find legal recourse. I'm a staunch believer in the Freedom of Religion and it makes my blood boil to read about the disgusting abuse this boy has endured.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This behavior does not surprise me. I live in Birmingham, AL, and we have a rash of children being taken away from their parents because they are pagan. DHR here is strongly Christian, to the point of ignorance, and abuse their power. My daughter has been harrased in school since kindergarten for being pagan. DHR found out we were pagan and took her away from me, claming we were "satan worshippers."  Then she was placed in a series of uber-christian foster homes until she renounced paganism and turned Christian. Then she was moved out of state to live with an aunt she didn't even know. Meanwhile, there is NOTHING I can do to get her back because DHR is hiding the real reason they took her from the courts.

 We've got a real problem in this country with close-minded Christians in authority positions taking advantage of their power. Currently there does not seem to be a general mindset of thoughtfulness and respect for people who are different from the majority. Everyone is afraid and not thinking.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 Have sent e mail to all of the names at the end of the article expressing my outrage and asking them to step up and meet their legal, moral and ethical responsibilities.

 

 

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Scathing yet polite letter sent to both parties.  I am heart broken over this story.  I highly suggest Mom take just a little time out of her very busy schedule to write to her congress persons concerning this travesty.


Blessed Be and Peace to All


Pagan High Priestess

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

My name is Alexandra Moore. I use to attend Bowdon Elementary, and I am astounded. I'm 16 years old and currently living in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. I'm shocked at Mrs. Ross for doing such acts. I've never known her to do them. She was actually one of my favorite teachers, but from what I hear, she's changed. A lot. As for being bullied by the teachers, I know exactly how that is. When I attended Jonesville Middle School, the teachers and vice principals thought they could get away with bullying me because they were 'in charge,' but when my parents found out, that quickly changed. Bowdon High School is even worse. The bullying carries over into the students. I had classmates that I had known for years calling me inappropriate names and bashing me to the point where I developed depression. This needs to change. I don't agree with Bowdon letting things like this happen.

Mrs. Turner, give Christopher my blessings. I hope the best for him. My heart also reaches out to you.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 I am a former soldier, I am a current college student, and I am a practicing pagan raised in a catholic household. I am appalled to hear this, though I am not surprised. To the mother and son, I say, I am sorry that so called profesionals would do something like this. To the school district involved, all employees involved in these prejudicial goings on all need to be fired

 

 Steven Luce

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Re: The Pagan College Student

Your comment was great till you declared Asians aren't discriminated for speaking other languages. Never heard of Engrish? Abercrombie / Fitch? What about the woman from UCLA whose racist tirade about Asians always being the loudest, most obnoxious, and should learn English?

People bash the Asian community all the time. Google: perpetual foreigner and ask yourself why a term like that is abscribed to Asians.

Discrimination comes in all forms and so long as you're not the majority or in power, you've probably had your share.

What happened to this child is a travesty. Why make it worse by claiming other groups don't suffer the same? Why be divisive?

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 @The Pagan College Student

Your comment was great till you declared Asians aren't discriminated for speaking other languages. Never heard of Engrish? Abercrombie / Fitch? What about the woman from UCLA whose racist tirade about Asians always being the loudest, most obnoxious, and should learn English?

People bash the Asian community all the time. Google: perpetual foreigner and ask yourself why a term like that is abscribed to Asians.

Discrimination comes in all forms and so long as you're not the majority or in power, you've probably had your share.

What happened to this child is a travesty. Why make it worse by claiming other groups don't suffer the same? Why be divisive? 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

My son Christopher wanted to say thank you to everyone. He is astounded and so am I to see so many people supporting him in standing up for what he believes. 

If anyone would like to contact us my email is imnsearch1@gmail.com

blessed be

Ms. Turner and Christopher

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 @The Pagan College Student

Your comment was great till you declared Asians aren't discriminated for speaking other languages. Never heard of Engrish? Abercrombie / Fitch? What about the woman from UCLA whose racist tirade about Asians always being the loudest, most obnoxious, and should learn English?

People bash the Asian community all the time. Google: perpetual foreigner and ask yourself why a term like that is abscribed to Asians.

Discrimination comes in all forms and so long as you're not the majority or in power, you've probably had your share.

What happened to this child is a travesty. Why make it worse by claiming other groups don't suffer the same? Why be divisive? 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This is heartbreaking, to the point it is sickening.  I remember growing up in a Chrisitian household, all alone because I wasn't allowed to express my beliefs.  I had no one but my friends and teachers to truely understand.  Why does this happen?  This is just purely disgussing and then the language issue?  Seriously?  You don't see people bashing on those in the Asian community about talking in their languages.  LEAVE HIM ALONE!! He is just a kid, he didn't do any harm to anyone!!   I will pray for the family and I hope the goddess has them in her protective arms...

 

-The Pagan College Student

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This is just further example of persecution for not "following the norm" in our society.  Unfortunately, our schools are not only supporting this kind of action by staff through ignoring it....their staff are teaching what is considered "acceptable" in society, rather than teaching the truth!

As a Pagan, I am insulted by the remark the teacher made that "anything non biblical" is Pagan.  The FACT is....that the Christmas story, which is the celebration of the birth of God, IS PAGAN!  Christmas as Christians celebrate it today, has PAGAN symbol all through it. The advent wreath, the candles, mistletoe, AND the christmas tree, as well as the story of Christ's birth.....are all ROOTED in Pagan practice.  And, I hate to  point it out, but the root if it being Pagan goes back LONG before Christianity was brought into being.

Before you go rubbing against ANYONE'S beliefs, STUDY each side.  Especially if you take on the role of Teacher.  Even further....part of being a teacher is accepting "INCLUSIVE" attitude toward every student, regardless of his/her background, beliefs or lifestyle.  This child hs a right to his beliefs, just as every Christian does.

Please get off the "holier than thou" attitude, and realize no one is better than anyone else.  No one deserves to be treated any differently than you do....and if you really ARE Christians, you should know that due to your religious teaching.  If you are Christian, you also should be against injustice toward others, not be the ones COMMITTING injustice. 

This family deserves respect---and I hope the school officials finally stop with the deaf ear routine, and do the right thing for this student, by addressing the way he was treated. Plain and simple, even taking OUT the religious injustice....his dignity and self worth were violated by an adult...with a position of authority.  That is wrong, on every levl, REGARDLESS of why it occured!

Sincerely,

Kristin---Pagan who grew up Christian and is aTheology graduate.

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I have an 11 year old son. I am Pagan. I allow  my kids the freedom to believe and practice as THEY wish ... it is not something I force down their throats and neither should our schools.  I would be UP IN ARMS if he were harrassed in this manner at his school ... the school which MY TAX DOLLARS support. 

As far as I understand it, WORLD religion isn't taught until middle school,  and it is INCLUSIVE of ALL religions ... it is NOT the school's job to teach, encourage or DISCOURAGE religion or religious belief (or lack thereof) and is against the law to discriminate because of one's religious preference, no matter WHAT they believe!  This just breaks my heart on so many levels, for the Mother and for her son who really is the innocent victim in all of this.  The teacher shouldn't be teaching about HER VERSION of the "origin of Christmas" period ... unless she is teaching in a private school.  At the very least she should be suspended for imposing her beliefs on her students and for bringing her religion into public school curriculum ... which is prohibited as far as I understand it. 

There are SEVERAL Pagan Rights Organizations that you can contact that will intervene on your behalf ... you can contact your local congressman as well. It is their duty to protect your rights .... these are guaranteed by our Constitution. Here is a link if you are interested that will take you to different pagan related issues and legal rights .... it might be a good starting point for you.  You may want to do a google search on your own as well ...

Blessings,
Tracey in California

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yourlegalrights/Legal_Rights_for_Pagans_and_Wiccans.htm

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 I sent off my email to the teacher and administrators. It is appalling to me that a teacher thinks its okay to set an example like that. That poor boy. My heart goes out to him and his family for having to put up with this.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

As a pagan and a person who believes in basic decency, I wished to offer my support to your family, particularly your son, during this tough time.


I will keep you all in my prayers. It seems like others here have had much help to offer you, which is great to see.


I plan to be writing to the teacher and the school officials listed in this article later today.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This story has touched me deeply, I have children in the public school system in NC and even though their beliefs are not the same as mine they do have a pagan mom and I have found myself having very open and honest discussions witht the parents of my kid's friends. I have e-mailed the contacts at the end of this story and also reposted it in several Wiccan/Pagan groups I belong to. There are people in these groups who can and are helping, Thank you for being brave enough to share your story and know that blessings and healing energy are being directed your way from all over the world.


                                                                Jennifer Cowell

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Christian minority -- your comments are indeed refreshing, but you must realize there is no way a child can be prevented from praying in school.  God hears all prayers offered up in secret, thus a silent prayer cannot be detected or prevented.  Jesus taught his children how to pray, "But when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your father who is in secret, and your father who sees in secret will repay you."  Even Jesus understood that communion between God and the believer was to be a private matter, not a public display.  You should be appalled when public prayer is allowed, as it defies Jesus' commands regarding such practices.

As for "practic(ing) their religious beliefs in school," why would any parent or child want to do this?  Jesus was very much opposed to public displays of religious beliefs.  That was one of his major condemnations of the Pharisees, as such outward displays usually mask an evil interior and disguise hypocrites.  Public school is not the venue for religious practices.  If every religion was allowed to practice their beliefs in a public school, there would be chaos.  Religious practices by definition belong in churches and the home, not in public schools.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Christian minority -- your comments are indeed refreshing, but you must realize there is no way a child can be prevented from praying in school.  God hears all prayers offered up in secret, thus a silent prayer cannot be detected or prevented.  Jesus taught his children how to pray, "But when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your father who is in secret, and your father who sees in secret will repay you."  Even Jesus understood that communion between God and the believer was to be a private matter, not a public display.  You should be appalled when public prayer is allowed, as it defies Jesus' commands regarding such practices.

As for "practic(ing) their religious beliefs in school," why would any parent or child want to do this?  Jesus was very much opposed to public displays of religious beliefs.  That was one of his major condemnations of the Pharisees, as such outward displays usually mask an evil interior and disguise hypocrites.  Public school is not the venue for religious practices.  If every religion was allowed to practice their beliefs in a public school, there would be chaos.  Religious practices by definition belong in churches and the home, not in public schools.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This is appauling on so many levels. If religion is going to be discussed at all in a public school, it should include ALL religions. This *should* have been an opportunity to educate the class on another religion/belief system. Education erases unfounded fears and leads to acceptance. 


And if the teacher really considers herself a Christian, she needs to re-read her Bible. See the verses in this article, which I think is a beautiful outlook, and the one that Jesus would have wanted his followers to embrace.


www.wicca-spirituality.com/christian.html


Angela in Canada

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I sent an email on your behalf to lend my support. Just remember, we are behind you 100% and will do what we can.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 I live in North Carolina, and when my kids were in middle school, we had some of the same problems. Teachers allowing students to bully my oldest daughter in class( she literally turned her back to the class and ignored my daughter asking her to stop the other students), staff telling her that her pent was "satanic", and just a constant barrage of bigotry. So, Ms. Taylor, I completely understand what you're going through. I would suggest calling your own conference with the offending teacher, the counselor, and the principal. You have every right to do this, and they HAVE to comply. Let them know that you are aware of your( and your sons) rights, and they are violating them. Let them know that if it doesn't stop- immediately- you WILL get legal counsel, and bring personal lawsuits for not only the rights violations, but the bullying as well, and that you WILL bring the media into it,too. If they don't comply, go over thier heads to the school board. If it STILL continues, then you have ample evidence that you did all you could to try to put a stop to it. And ys, that's when you will have to bring in the big guns- lawyers, the ACLU, and whatever Pagan legal assistance you can find( I know there are Pagan organizations out there who will help you get lawyers to fight this kind of discrimination). Good luck to you- this isn't an easy fight, but it's one that no one can afford to back down from, or it will continue not only for your son, but for other children as well.

 

 Bright Blessings to you and your son.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Contact the ACLU in regards to both the teacher and the bus driver.  This is completely against your rights in both situations.  

As for the teacher, requiring a paper on the biblical history of Christmas, perhaps she should actually learn the true history of the holiday before asking her students to write the papers.  It isn't even a christian holiday.  It has been a celebrated holiday 2000 years before the birth of Christ, by, (ready for this?) pagans.  It was adopted by christians.  http://www.historyofchristmas.net/ 

If you think you are celebrating the birth of Christ, think again.  He wasn't even born in December. 

http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-aid/truth-behind-christmas/?s=2&gclid=CKOp3aCu7awCFQSFhwodE06ILg 

(I have requested a copy of this pamphlet to be mailed to Mrs. Ross c/o the Carroll County School District, hopefully she will read it)

Perhaps Mrs. Ross should stick to the subjects that she is actually paid to teach, or quit her job and become a Sunday school teacher, which seems to be what she belives her true calling is.  Perhaps she could try to teach a class on religious tolerance, as it seems to be severely lacking in todays society.

To Christopher and your family, please believe there are many of us out here who support you.  Hold your head up high and be proud to stick to your beliefs and don't allow the narrowminded, ignorance of others break your spirit.  

K. Long

Denver, Colorado

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

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I am Pagan and I was raised in bowdon and I went to high school there and I know first hand how close minded the people in that town can be. Luckily for me things never got this bad when I was in school and I am just appawled that this teacher has been alowed to get away with this behavior. She should be fired at the very least because that kind of behavior is completely unacceptable and illegal. Where is the seperation of church and state honestly? I also want to know where she gets of saying anything that is not biblical is paganism, what dose that mean for the Jewish, Hindu, Buddist and all the others? Does that mean that anyone that dosent study the bible is pagan REALLY!!!!!! I definitly think the mother should be getting ahold of a lawyer because she could absolutely sue the school system for this whole incident.

Lee Ann Imperiale

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 

 

My son is now 35 yrs old. He is not Wiccan. I was and didn't know it, but what I do know is that he had ADD and the principal told me flat out " I don't care what he IS- we don't have a program for him"  They did but didn't want to utilize it. because they might have to attend a workshop. I believe MOST teachers want to do do well by their students but are hampered by their management team. Two things rise to the top, and we all know what those are. Do thery not know that WICCA is a re spiritual path (AKA Religion) recognized by the U.S. military and they have chaplains, worship circles and permission to display their faith as long as it does not compromise health or safeyt while in combat.  Wake up and blessed be...........W from Canada                                                                                  

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I am a pagan living in Georgia as well, and if this does not get taken care of soon, my advice to this mother would be to contact Channel 5 or Channel 2 News and expose this story to the media. What this school system and that teacher is doing is seriously illegal, and that way it would be taken care of, even though they may not have enough money to open up a lawsuit against the county's school system. Although, I do realize this would out them as pagans if they are not "out of the broom-closet" so to speak, sometimes that is the best way to get things quickly taken care of.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

i cannot believe that a school did this..............no, i take that back, i can. i feel horribly for that poor boy, and i know that the people that did this will get what they deserve (Karma baby!!) as for the paper the boy was required to right, seperation of church and state (making him write that paper is unconstitutional). My friends are almost all Christian, and they wouldn't stand for this, they are not true Christians. they seem under the impression that their god is bigger than everyone else's, but there one bitty god compared to all mine is something i would like to see. (i am not saying that too all people, just to the ones who shove religion down a childs throat)

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Well, I blame the Jews (Hey, someone had to say it, right?). We Jews have made it impossible for anyone to go after us like this, so now they've turned on the next available target. Sorry, guys - this wasn't what we meant (But I do see that a guy named "Goldberg" is trying hard to help the kid as best he can, hampered ina system that - well, he should know how ridiculous said system is - he must have gone up against it as a child! Or his parents did!).

Yes, of course I'll be writing - theyre not getting away with this. "Never Again" means EVERYONE!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 I sent an e-mail to the principal today, and I got a reply, just now when it's nearly 7:00 pm in Atlanta. It was not a form letter reply, but it does prove that these people are aware of the problem and do see how upset this has made the world at large. Keep sending e-mails!

It's On like Cinnabon.

 I am not amused. This is ridiculous and I will be harassing this school until they unplug their phones.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I have made calls, will be making more until something is done. I am pagan and as a child I too was bullied by a teacher for my religon, I am 29 and it was in 8th grade. She go away with a warning and I even had to finish the semester in her class. Things are changing but mainly due to people in the pagan community standing up for our own, no matter where they are located. The United States Military reconizes Paganism/Wicca, in fact the Air Force just opened an $80,000 stone circle ritual space for cadets who practice earth based religons.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-air-force-pagans-20111127,0,6813530.story

 

If the pagan community, and people who value the Right to Freedom of Religon, don't rally behind this child who will?

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

There is so much violation of the Establishment Clause in this story, I don't know where to begin. Teachers telling students that their faiths are not real? Closed-door meetings concerning the fate of an 11-year-old child? Religious proselytizing through essays--in a public school?

Stories like this make me ashamed to have a teacher's certificate, and ashamed to live in America. All children should be treated fairly by our nation's public schools--regardless of race, class, gender, and yes, religion. We cannot honestly call ours a free country when things like this are going on.

--L. C.

a response from the christian minority

i just wanted to let anyone concerned know that not all christians are the carroll county, narrow-minded bigot type. i have studied and know enough about the religion of my ancestors to make most other christians very nervous around me. i said that to say this, i find what happened to christopher appalling, just as i find it appalling when any child is told they cannot pray, or practice their religious beliefs in school. this is just sickening...i'm thinking those particular 'teachers' need an education in the history of the religion they cling to, and the persecution their ancestors suffered. maybe they didn't understand it when they were told, 'judge not, lest ye be judged yourself'? 

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Dear Mrs. Turner,

 

Like every other Pagan who knows of this story (and I am doing my part to circulate the link to it), I am appalled. There are various Pagan legal services and recourse, and I have contacted several of them on your behalf. However, I wanted to contact you personally to present an alternative.

 

I am the Headmaster of the online Grey School of Wizardry, which provides a superb educational experience for students ages 11 and up (our oldest students are in their 70s!). We have just developed a GED program, and we are working with a number of families in our School to develop a full home-schooling support system as well. I recommend you and Christopher look into the Grey School at: www.GreySchool.com

 

We have many families in the Grey School—parents and kids as well. We would be delighted to welcome you and Christopher into our virtual halls!

 

Brightest Blessings,

Oberon Zell, Headmaster

Grey School of Wizardry

www.GreySchool.com

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Dear Mrs. Turner,

 

Like every other Pagan who knows of this story (and I am doing my part to circulate the link to it), I am appalled. There are various Pagan legal services and recourse, and I have contacted several of them on your behalf. However, I wanted to contact you personally to present an alternative.

 

I am the Headmaster of the online Grey School of Wizardry, which provides a superb educational experience for students ages 11 and up (our oldest students are in their 70s!). We have just developed a GED program, and we are working with a number of families in our School to develop a full home-schooling support system as well. I recommend you and Christopher look into the Grey School at: www.GreySchool.com

 

We have many families in the Grey School—parents and kids as well. We would be delighted to welcome you and Christopher into our virtual halls!

 

Brightest Blessings,

Oberon Zell, Headmaster

Grey School of Wizardry

www.GreySchool.com

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Yep, there really is evil in the world....emanating from the school system.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I tried sending an email to the teacher,but something went wrong.

She should be ashamed of herself and so should the principal. The constitution is not something you follow when it agrees with you. And she should be enough of an adult that she knows better than to bully an eleven year old child. I never thought the public school system was the best,but this is beyond horrible. If children can't even count on the faculty to protect them they shouldn't be required to go to that school. How can we expect children to stop bullying each other when the so called adults can't grow up enough to stop doing it themselves.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

here are some other links the mother can try as well.

http://www.wwe.com/inside/overtheropes/wweinyourcorner/be-a-star-mission

 

i happen to be a Pagan myself, this action of the Carroll County School System is wrong and hateful. Seems to me, they do not follow their Christian teachings so very well.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 I am also a single mother of three children. My children are in public schools and I absolutely dispise them, however,  I have no choice but to place them there due to life circumstances.... Money and time...  

I have to say that I hope this family gets the help they need and not too late! I want to give a HUGE thanks to the mother and Christopher for being brave enough to allow this story to be made public and I hope that it does make the national news! It should! It is a much more news worthy story than SOOo many other things I see on the news. This affects us all in some way and it should be heard by all. 

Kudos to Mrs. Turner for her courage!! Kudos to Christopher for his courage!!  You are doing sooo much than you know by exposing this. Don't let them get away with this. It is so important... Maybe more important than you realize. 

I said I dispise the public school system, but as a full time working, single mother of three I know that we are all too dependant on the system.  So it is sooo shameful that this family would have to be pushed into home schooling.  I think home schooling can absolutely be a better option, but it is very difficult and I also think it makes it seem as if that horrible teacher has won! Pushed them under cover... Just like they wanted.... What to do??? I commend this family for getting the word out!! Please, do what you have to in order to protect your child, but don't let those horrible people go unpunished.  Don't let them think that they've won again.

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

You might want to also contact the Foundation for Indivual Rights in Education.  Unlike the ACLU all they do is cases where schools infringe on the rights of their students.

Here's the link to the wikipedia post: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_for_Individual_Rights_in_Educati... That can give you a better idea of what they do and how to get ahold of them.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I have eMail the three contacts provided to show my support to Christopher and Ms. Turner.

 

Rev. Scott W

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I have eMail the three contacts provided to show my support to Christopher and Ms. Turner.

 

Rev. Scott W

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 I would love to hear an update on this if there is one! I just sent my own email to the superintendent, principal, and teacher. Hopefully this will end well with someone apologizing for their hurtfulness.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Sounds like it's time to get an attorney involved, from the ACLU. This is wrong on so many levels. The bus driver needs to be reprimanded as well. I can't speak Spanish, but sure would not kick a CHILD off of the bus for it.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I would strongly recommend that this family contact the ACLU of Georgia.  I don't want to state an unqualified opinion without knowing the facts first hand and without having a license to practice law, but this story as presented here reeks of constitutional and state and federal civil rights violations. 

http://www.acluga.org/intake.procedures.html

Mailing address

ACLU of Georgia
1900 The Exchange
Suite 425
Atlanta, GA 30339

Telephone

770.303.9966

Fax

770.303.0060

E-Mail

info@acluga.org

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I would strongly recommend that this family contact the ACLU of Georgia.  I don't want to state an unqualified opinion without knowing the facts first hand and without having a license to practice law, but this story as presented here reeks of constitutional and state and federal civil rights violations. 

http://www.acluga.org/intake.procedures.html

Mailing address

ACLU of Georgia
1900 The Exchange
Suite 425
Atlanta, GA 30339

Telephone

770.303.9966

Fax

770.303.0060

E-Mail

info@acluga.org

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I sent an e-mail to all three people listed-this is abhorrent!! As a teacher, reading this made me sick! I really hope someone has directed this family to contact the ACLU in Georgia! This is completely against the law and the ACLU could help them take action to end the bullying!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

As a Christian parent (and homeschooler - my first thought was EXACTLY that... if the school is going to allow this behavior, homeschooling is legal in Georgia) I find this abhorrent. This is not loving or kind. This is hateful. This is bullying. WE DO NOT BULLY.

If anything not biblical is paganism, I'd like to see this teacher's social habits, what she watches (and how often she watches particular programs) on television, her music, food, clothing, etc. Get where I'm going with this?

Whether this behavior is legal or not doesn't matter. It is unacceptable from an evangelical view. She's not sharing her faith. She's cramming it. She will drive people away from it like that.

By the way, anything that has rituals and holy days IS a religion. 

 

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I can't imagine how much fun the school system is having since this hit the internet.  

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This is wrong no matter what religion a family practices. Now if this were a catholic school, there would be understanding to closed mindedness. However, in a public school the United States, religion is not a factor in daily life. Religion is not to be taught, or condemned by anyone.

 

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

When my pagan family was growing up in the rural Midwest and my family got outed, my mother made it very clear that she knew people from the state chapter of the ACLU. Even if a teacher did anything (like the time one of my sisters was told by a teacher to take off a pentacle because it was Satanic and a distraction to other students, then spent an entire parent-teacher conference talking to our mother about a Christian camp that could help her), the superintendent always took my mom's side and reprimanded the teacher. Most school officials aren't stupid.

I don't actually see much of a problem with teachers being disciplined without the parent's presence there. However, all of this stuff needs to be documented, and the mother should set up a meeting with the principal, student counselor, and the offending teacher to talk about her inappropriate behavior ... after contacting the ACLU, of course.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

No tonly is this religious in nature, it also involves the bus driver being against any language that is not English.   If only Christopher was given a warning about speaking spanish simply because the driver couldn't understand it, the other children should have too.  I am all for multilingual people.  Too many americans think the same way as the bus driver.  If you don't speak English you are low class.  I am not saying the other kids couldnt speak English, I bet they can better than most.  I myself speak Japanese and English.  It helps kids do better in scholl to be multi linigual.  Something should be said about the driver as well.  I must say the teacher though was way out of line, and something should be done if at all possible.  My heart goes out to this family, and I sincerely hope they can find a solution to all of these issues.

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Oh I so like the idea of Occupy the mailboxes of these morons. I will be doing that...and the phones....unbelievable. So sad. Such a lack of basic historical understanding from a teacher is  really an atrocity. I will be praying and sending healing energy for you Christopher, your Mom and for the morons as well .... for they need to be healed of theri bigotry and ignorance....I am also going to do some intentional work so that this will have an ending that is for the greater good of all. Blessings to each of you.


 

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I am a Pagan, an attorney, and the author of the book PAGANS AND THE LAW:  UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS.  This book is a scholarly treatise on the legal rights of Pagans in this country.  It will save any attorney HOURS of research and if the school administrators were to read this book, they would understand that by keeping this woman on staff, they are opening themselves and the school district open to a multi-hundred thousand dollar law suit.


Dana D. Eilers, Attorney and Author

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Parents, for help, I suggest that you contact

http://www.Legal-Aid-Georgia.org

and State Bar (Association) of Georgia Pro Bono web site

Please state your complaint in legal terms. As described, your complaint with the school concerns your allegation of religious discrimination against your son.

Best wishes to the whole family.

Barbara D. Brill

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I wanted to answer a few questions that have been asked.

First, I am not sure if a meeting actually ever took place between the principal and my sons teacher. I never received a call and have not had anyone as of yet call me back responding to messages I have left. Mr. Goldberg was very helpful in the first incident and he may have been out of town this past week. I am hopeing I hear from him within the coming days. I am looking into legal action if anyone knows anyone that could help me. I do not have money for legal help so am not sure what route to go. I have had many people contact me and help me understand homeschooling a little better and believe this is what my family will do. I just wanted to clarify that Mr. Goldberg was very helpful innitially. I do believe I will hear from him. My son will not be returning to Bowdon Elementary.

I am writing a letter to the ACLU. For some reason they do not have a direct number and state that you must write a letter. I have been given a few other numbers to call and am hopeing that we will have some help.

Thank you again to everyone.

Ms. Turner

imnsearch1@gmail.com

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

"Anything not biblical is paganism?"

 

The vast majority of the Christmas mythos that we celebrate, especially in the United States, has its roots in paganism then, from mistletoe and Christmas trees to St. Nicholas (he isn't in the Bible) to the names and number of the wise men.

 

I suggest a move or a lawsuit, and neither one will address the real problem - the attitudes of those around Christopher and his family.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I strongly suggest that the boy's mother contact the ACLU. His first amendment rights have been violated, three times now, and the ACLU has lots of experience with these things.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I was grateful to read this article about what is happening in my county.  I know it is very difficult for anyone who is "different", especially here in the deep South.  I would like to know what came of the meeting promised by Mr Goldberg (who I happen to know is not biased toward any religion).  I understand the upset, and there is no way to completely control teachers, but the school system should do everything in their power to fix the situation.  I was wondering what happened at the meeting, if anything, and if the school system is indeed following through with correcting this.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

Hello all,

I know that this article sounds outragious, and believe me, being Christophers mother I agree. I had many reservations about letting people know what is going on with my son, but after talking with my son and knowing the repercussions my family could endure we could not stay quiet and let this continue. I was terrified to let people know, and it was my child who opened up my eyes a little more and told me that people need to know so this will not continue. I am still not sure what to do next. We are looking into homeschooling and legal help. If anyone has any suggestions or has gone through something similar please let us know. We thank everyone for their support.

Blessed Be

Ms. Turner

P.S. if anyone would like to contact me please email me at imnsearch1@gmail.com

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

 To the uncle comment: I may be interested in this story if you can put me in contact with the mother. I have an online newspaper in a neighboring county called www.heardcitizen.com ... I can be reached via the "contact us" tab... thanks ... I also would like to hear both sides of the story... Thanks

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I can honestly say this is not here say.  As the uncle of the child in question, I have seen the effects this has had on him and his mother.  No body should ever have to be faced with this type of crap, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, whatever... It's wrong.  Plain and simple.  Not only is it wrong, IT'S ILLEGAL!!!

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This, on its own, is disgusting.  But I would sure like to hear the other side of the story before flying off the handle at here-say.  As a pagan for nearly 40 years, I have seen FAR to many pagans & wiccans claim persecution exclusively for the attention or special rights.

Of course, as a pagan in the South for most of that, I have also seen persecution for anything that some people did not feel was "Christian," including not only Pagan, but Jewish, Islamic, Catholic and Orthodox religions as well.  Fortunately, it has been infrequent, but the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the attention, especially when the media is involved.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

I hate to say this, because I love to fight the good fight, but Bible thumping Sheeple morons will not truly change their behavior no matter how much you push and complain. My heart really goes out to her because as a working single mother, like my mom was, she doesn't have a home school option and private schools are expensive and likely would have the exact same attitude. Sadly, living in the south and being Pagan, it seems there are probably few resources for her. But then I wonder, isn't there ANY sort of Pagan community there that could pull together to create a shared homeschool situation? I also have to add that if this were happening over someone Jewish right now it would be a national news story. This pisses me off and I wish we could find a good immediate and permanent solution for her. Chastising boneheads into alleged compliance will still expose her and her son to snide comments and prejudices, sadly.

Re: Children Have Rights Too!!!

This is sick!! Something has to be done about this!!  OCCUPY THEIR MAILBOXES!! :)