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
Teacher - Mrs. Connie Ross
Phone Number: (770) 258-2161
Principal - Mrs. Rebecca Waldrep
Phone Number: (770) 258-2161