CANTON, Ga. — A history teacher in Georgia has taken leave from his classroom over his frustration that he may not speak about God in school.
John Osborne of Sequoyah High School in Canton says that he is using his time off to consider whether or not he will return to class as he does not feel supported by administrators. He states that he has spoken about Christianity in the classroom for years, but was recently the target of a complaint.
“I teach world history, so there is a lot of talk about religion, and really all I want is equality to talk about everything in America, including Christianity,” he told WGCL-TV in Atlanta.
Osborne said that he was accused of telling students that they would go to Hell for smoking pot, but he denies the allegations. He states that he only seeks to be a positive influence on students to help them to live honorable lives.
“I am not telling anybody they need to change. I am just sharing who I am. They need more guidance and love,” Osborne told reporters. “Let me tell you something, I am looking out for your kids, America. This ain’t about me judging them. I am trying to help. If you are not going to take care of your children, then we will.”
On Tuesday, hundreds of students rallied together for Osborne, assuming that he had been put on leave by the school. They also took to social media to express their support for the teacher. Some students were given slips to report to detention after they were late for class due to the rally.
The Cherokee County School District released a statement about the matter to reporters this week.
“A group of students—under the mistaken impression that this teacher’s employment had been terminated by CCSD—staged an event during the school day,” it read. “It was halted by administrators, as students needed to report to class. No administrative disciplinary action has been taken against students for their participation in the event; some students were disciplined by their teachers upon returning to class due to tardiness.”
The district also affirmed that Osborne took leave on his own, and has not been fired by the district.
“The Sequoyah High School teacher in question remains a CCSD employee and no disciplinary action has been taken against him,” it outlined. “The teacher on Friday gave the school’s administration notice that he would be taking leave this week.”
As Osborne considers whether or not to return to class, he said that he will not stop speaking about Christianity in the classroom as it is an extension of his character.
“As I’ve grown in Christ, it has shown more in the classroom, and as it’s gotten stronger, I just feel like I’m not going to change who I am,” he said. “I’m not going to press my issue on you, but I’m going to be myself.”
“I do have the right to fight for what I believe in and talk about Jesus in the classroom,” Osborne stated.
As previously reported, the first textbook used in the American colonies even before the nation’s founding, The New England Primer, was largely focused on the Scriptures, and was stated to be popular in colonial schools for at least one hundred years. It used mostly the King James Bible as reference, and spoke much about sin, salvation and proper behavior.
“In Adam’s fall, we sinned all,” it read, in teaching children the alphabet, using Adam as an example of the letter A.
“Thy life to mend, this Book attend,” it continued for the letter B, referring to the Scriptures. “My Book and heart shall never part.”
“Christ crucified, for sinners died,” read the letter C.
Photo: USA Today/screenshot