Ringgold, Georgia — A middle school teacher in Georgia was recently investigated after a prominent atheist organization wrote a letter of complaint to the district superintendent because the woman allegedly sang a song about Jesus in class.
Sixth grade science teacher Heather Moorman will not be disciplined over the accusation, but the matter reported by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) was investigated by school officials. School district spokesperson Melissa Brower confirmed to reporters that the investigation revealed that students in Moorman’s class at Lakeview Middle School had requested that she sing a song.
However, FFRF asserts that they were told by a complainant that Moorman regularly played her guitar in class and would sing songs such as “Jesus is My Savior.” It states that the unnamed individual claimed that Moorman would witness to students during school hours as well, and that several co-workers have reported her to school administrators, who have spoken to the teacher about the matter.
“Even if a student asks a teacher to sing a song, the teacher can’t sing a religious song in class. If the student asks the teacher to say a prayer, the teacher can’t say a prayer,” FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel told the Times Free Press. “I’m not looking to see that this teacher faces disciplinary action, but what this does is shows a lack of understanding of the strictures of the Constitution.”
In a letter dated February 1st, Seidel requested that Moorman be investigated for promoting Christianity in the classroom.
“We ask that you commence an immediate investigation into these allegations and take prompt action to halt religious instruction occurring at public schools in your district,” the letter stated. “If Ms. Moorman has been reprimanded or warned in the past, a more effective punishment is appropriate.”
He contended that teachers who promote religion are “interfering with the rights of students as well as the rights of their parents to transmit religious beliefs to their children as they see fit.”
“This promotion of religion makes non-Christian and non-religious students into outsiders in their own school,” Seidel continued. “The district must take immediate action to stop its teachers from imposing their religious beliefs and practices on their students. Teachers in your district must be directed to adhere to current law or they are not fit to teach in public schools.”
He concluded by again requesting an investigation and asking that the district outline what steps it would take to put an end to religious influence in the classroom.
In a written statement released by Brower, the school district outlined that the investigation has concluded, finding that “the students requested [that] the teacher sing a song that she had written.”
“A co-worker discussed the song with an administrator,” the statement outlined. “Administrators addressed the incident with the teacher. Administrators did not receive additional complaints about the teacher until receiving the letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
One seventh grader who had Moorman as a teacher last year told reporters that she has no problem with Moorman singing a song in class.
“I think it’s okay because it’s spiritual, and who doesn’t want to learn about God?” Janiya Young asserted. “She’s a really good teacher. She was a good teacher to me.”