Teacher Asks First Grade Students Not To Talk About Religion

August 25, 2017
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A local district is now responding to concerns over a letter sent home to parents about a conversation kids were having in the classroom.

In the letter, a teacher wrote that a group of first graders at McCordsville Elementary were using the words “God’ “Jesus” and “devil.”

The female teacher went on to ask parents to talk with their children about when and where it’s appropriate to talk about their beliefs.

“With McCordsville Elementary being a public school, we have many different religions and beliefs, and I do not want to upset a child/parent because of these words being used,” the teacher wrote. “If you go to church or discuss these things at home, please have a talk with your child about there being an appropriate time and place of talking about it.”

The superintendent at Mt. Vernon Schools says this happened during a debate about religion. He also says that trying to limit a student’s right to discuss religion is a First Amendment violation, unless that the discussion becomes an academic disruption.

Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins wrote:
“We had an unfortunate incident involving one classroom of 1st grade students at McCordsville Elementary School this week surrounding a debate on religion. In response, the classroom teacher crafted a letter on expectations and sent it home to parents. First and foremost, board policy #8800 outlines religious expression at school by students. To simply summarize, MVCSC employees can neither advance nor inhibit religious views. Trying to limit a student’s view on religion is a violation of a student’s first amendment rights. However, if the discussion becomes an academic disruption, then as a district, we can intervene to maintain the integrity of the educational process while at the same time being sure to not violate a student’s constitutional rights.
It is the position of the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation to respect the diversity of our students. In doing so, we will address sensitive topics with compassion while maintaining the integrity of our academic environment. Our goal is to build bridges with our patrons and not put up roadblocks. I believe this was a learning experience and an opportunity for us to improve as a school district.”

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