TEMECULA, Calif. – A Christian legal organization has sent a letter to a school district in California asking that teachers be added to its anti-bullying policy after a middle school teacher rejected the Bible as being as acceptable fulfillment of an assignment to read a nonfiction book.
The incident happened at Margarita Middle School in Temecula, California, where a teacher asked students to read a nonfiction book for 30 minutes to an hour that night. The next day, they were to bring their books to class as proof.
However, when the teacher walked from desk to desk, checking students for completion of the assignment, he saw that one boy had brought the Bible to class.
“The teacher said, ‘That’s not a nonfiction book,’” attorney Bob Tyler of Advocates for Faith and Freedom told Christian News Network. “[The student] said, ‘Well, honestly, I believe it is a nonfiction book. The teacher then said in a sharp tone, ‘Well, I’ll get back to you.’”
Moments later, the teacher walked to the front of the class to poll the other students about the matter.
“[H]e went to the front of the classroom and in a very demeaning tone, asked the students, ‘How many of you think the Bible is nonfiction?” Tyler explained. “[He was] expecting that no one would raise their hand and this bully would find favor with all of the students.”
However, the table was quickly turned on the teacher.
“Instead, what he found is that all but two kids in the class raised their hand and agreed with our client that the Bible is not fiction,” Tyler said. “In an ironic turn of events, the bully teacher in this case was proven not to really have the ability to humiliate our client. Instead, he was the one humiliated.”
The teacher later granted the student credit for reading the Bible to fulfill the assignment.
However, as the situation concerned the boy’s parents, they contacted Advocates for Faith and Freedom about the matter, who in turn sent a letter to the Temecula Valley Unified School District.
“This child was put in a situation he should never have been put in, where basically, he was intimidated by a bully,” Tyler said. “There’s all this conversation about bullies, and this is a circumstance where the real bully is a school teacher.”
The letter to the district asked that these types of situations be curtailed, and that the district amend its anti-bullying policy to include teachers.
“We want them to amend it so that teacher recognize that they are equally subject to the policy against bullying,” Tyler stated, “because there’s a lot of hostility in public schools these days directed toward Christian students.”
“These days, there is no shortage of bullying against Christian students by teachers,” he continued. “If a teacher were to take the same tone and tactic against a homosexual student based on the student’s sexual orientation, the teacher would be subjected to serious and significant discipline. But for some reason, these teachers feel that they have the ability to engage in this type of hostility and attempt to humiliate Christian students.”
Tyler said that his organization is actively looking for other cases pertaining to Christian students who have been treated unjustly in the classroom.
“I want kids across the nation to realize that hostility and bigotry against students based upon their Christian faith is not only wrong, but it is prohibited by the Constitution,” he stated.