A Texas seventh grader told a school board that the students in her class were forced to deny the existence of God.
Jordan Wooley, a seventh grade student at West Memorial Junior High School, says it happened during a reading class assignment in which the students were to classify each of a list of statements as an “opinion,” a “factual claim,” or a “commonplace assertion.” One statement read “There is a God.”
“She told anyone who said fact or opinion is wrong and that God is only a myth,” Jordan says in a statement to the school board. “She started telling kids that they were completely wrong and when kids would argue she had told them that we would get in trouble.”
“When I tried to argue she told me to prove it and I tried to offer things such as the Bible and stories that I’ve read before from people who have died and went to Heaven, but have come back and told their stories.”
Jordan was so disturbed she messaged her mother and told her what had happened.
The girl's mother Chantel Wooley was also surprised about the class exercise.
“I think that the teacher crossed a serious line when she led impressionable minds to write there was no God ... that God wasn’t real. I think that infringes on my child’s rights,” Ms. Chantel told ABC Eyewitness News.
The school issued a statement, defending the assignment saying it was intended to encourage, "critical thinking skills and dialogue was not intended to question or challenge any student’s religious beliefs.”
The school added:
The teacher is distraught by this incident, as some commentary has gone as far as to vilify her without knowing her, her Christian faith, or the context of the classroom activity. Still, this does not excuse the fact that this ungraded activity was ill-conceived and because of that, its intent had been misconstrued. As a result, the activity will no longer be used by the school, and appropriate personnel action will be taken. The school regrets any misconceptions that may have resulted from this teacher-developed classroom activity and assures its school community that the religious beliefs of all students and staff are welcomed and valued at Memorial Junior High.