(Photo: Reuters/Danilo Krstanovic)
A Christian legal group recently sent a letter to a Calif. middle school encouraging it to add teachers to its anti-bullying policy after one teacher at the school made a spectacle of a Christian student for bringing a bible to class.
The incident reportedly took place earlier this month at Margarita Middle School in Temecula, Calif., when an unnamed teacher asked his students to read a nonfiction book every night for 30 minutes. As proof that they had completed the assignment, the students were to bring in their book the next day to be checked by the teacher.
As the teacher walked up the rows of the students to verify their nonfiction book, he reportedly came across one student who had the bible on his desk. The teacher reportedly told the student that the bible did not count as a nonfiction book, while the student responded, "Honestly, I believe it is." The teacher then allegedly walked to the front of the classroom and asked all the students: "How many of you think the Bible is nonfiction?"
Although the teacher was apparently expecting no students to raise their hands, his plan backfired, and all but two of the students raised their hands. Robert Tyler, president and general counsel for the Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a Christian legal group, then told Faith on Trial Radio that his team would be sending a letter to the school district asking that teachers also be put on the school's anti-bullying policy, as this was blatantly an act of bulling on behalf of the teacher.
"This is an example of the growing hostility towards Christianity that is being displayed in our public classrooms, and we believe we must take a stand! We believe that the actions of this teacher violate the Establishment Clause, which requires the State to remain neutral on issues of religion," Tyler said in the letter.
Tyler added in an interview with the Christian News Network that he wants Christian students to be protected in school from bullying just as other groups are.
"These days, there is no shortage of bullying against Christian students by teachers," Tyler told the media outlet. "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."
"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," Tyler added.
There have been several recent cases detailing the violation of religious freedom in the U.S. public school system. Recently, a school in Ohio was forced to remove a portrait of Jesus and pay a large fine, even though the school argued the portrait served as a historical display at the school. Earlier in September, a 10-year-old in Nashville, Tenn. was forced to re-do her school assignment after describing God as her idol.