Iowa teacher put on leave after telli...

Iowa teacher put on leave after telling student he couldn't bui...

There are 18 comments on the WQAD story from Mar 2, 2010, titled Iowa teacher put on leave after telling student he couldn't bui.... In it, WQAD reports that:

A Guthrie Center High School industrial arts teacher has been placed on paid leave after telling a student he couldn't build a Wiccan altar in shop class.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WQAD.

Dawn

Brandon, FL

#1 Mar 2, 2010
Personally I side with the teacher on this one. He was trying to uphold the law and it doesn't allow any religious articles, theirs or ours. I don't see this as an attack on wicca or wiccans. We can still live our lives and he did what he believed was right and had already refused another religious article.
Earth Child

Macedonia, OH

#2 Mar 2, 2010
I believe the teacher did the right thing. Religions should be practiced outside of school.

Since: Feb 08

ANOKA, MN

#3 Mar 2, 2010
This article has more information. A student is allowed to express his or her religious beliefs through an assignment.
Quote from the teacher:
"It scares me. I'm a Christian," he said. "This witchcraft stuff - it's terrible for our kids. It takes kids away from what they know, and leads them to a dark and violent life. We spend millions of tax dollars trying to save kids from that."
Poster

Guthrie Center, IA

#4 Mar 2, 2010
The teacher is ignorant about what Wicca is and the law.

He doesn't know anything about Wicca. I'm a Christian - born, raised, and proud of it - but I can tell you that Wicca does not equate violence and death - for example, the classic idea of sacrificing and whatnot does not happen with people of this religious conviction because it shows a lack of respect for life. He let his own incorrect, biased thoughts influence his judgment.

Separation of church and state means that the state cannot push a religion on its people. For example, a public school (state) or teacher of that school cannot push their own religious beliefs on the students. The students, however, can legally express religious beliefs in assignments, even if that's in shop class. The teacher shouldn't have even stopped the cross being built in a previous year.

As it said at the end of almost every cartoon in the 80's - Knowledge is Power!
getreal

Mitchellville, IA

#5 Mar 2, 2010
good grief! must we cater to EVERY INDIVIDUAL in this country - if so lets start catering to ME for a change, thats never been done!
Michelle

AOL

#6 Mar 2, 2010
yes, the teacher sounds like a douchbag and it's good he went on leave or whatever. There is something called freedom of speech in this country, that should be respected. Kids should be able to build whatever they want to in shop class as long as its not built to destroy something... and I think that, with just wood, would be very hard. wake up america!!
Chris

United States

#7 Mar 2, 2010
There is no law forbidding individuals to practice their religion in this country. Even prayer in school is fine, so long as it is not led by any school official or as part of a public function. The problem is when this kind of thing goes the other way, and it's the teacher trying to push the religion onto the student.
TimInNC

United States

#8 Mar 2, 2010
OK, I'm a practicing Pagan. I have to say I am inclined to come down on the side of the teacher here. If what he said about not allowing another student to make a cross in class is true he is being even handed and fair in how he conducts his class. I'd have denighed the cross too, but most because it's a pretty poor shop class project.

All this being said, however, I have a feeling that this particular teacher made his views about Wicca and witchcraft know before and set himself up for a situation where a student could push the issue and make a case out of it. Jsut a gut reaction, and I could be wrong.
Earth Child

Macedonia, OH

#9 Mar 2, 2010
Poster wrote:
The teacher is ignorant about what Wicca is and the law.
He doesn't know anything about Wicca. I'm a Christian - born, raised, and proud of it - but I can tell you that Wicca does not equate violence and death - for example, the classic idea of sacrificing and whatnot does not happen with people of this religious conviction because it shows a lack of respect for life. He let his own incorrect, biased thoughts influence his judgment.
Separation of church and state means that the state cannot push a religion on its people. For example, a public school (state) or teacher of that school cannot push their own religious beliefs on the students. The students, however, can legally express religious beliefs in assignments, even if that's in shop class. The teacher shouldn't have even stopped the cross being built in a previous year.
As it said at the end of almost every cartoon in the 80's - Knowledge is Power!
Thank for your input. I just wanted to let you know what respect I have for you. It is apparent that you have educated yourself about Earth based religions and still kept to your own beliefs and still show respect for others. I think you are a fine example of someone who researches before listening to terrible misinformation and so avoids spreading hateful things.
Feathers

Milton Keynes, UK

#10 Mar 2, 2010
I went to a school that definitely discriminated against my faith as a Pagan - I was on several occassions mocked by members of staff and even had myself and my religion refered to as evil, and was banned from wearing my pentacle where visible, whereas Muslim girls could wear their headscarves and those pendants with the prayers on, Christian girls could wear a cross, Jewish girls a star of David, etc. and was forbidden from mentioning my faith to other pupils lest I lead them into devilry. The school was Christian and supposedly accepting of those of other faiths, but there were those in the faculty who simply refused to beleive there was a difference between Paganism and Satanism, and refused to accept that I worshipped deity in and as nature rather than the Devil.

I still managed, despite being a boarding pupil, to practice my faith. That was because I made sure not to point out what half my stuff was actually for. Had that been me in shop class, I'd have called it a table, with some Celtic/vegitative/Egyptian/etc decoration (Depends on the tradition (denomination) of Pagan what sort), and not mentioned the 'a' word ;)... although I might have had to have been a bit subtle with exactly what the decoration was... But we didn't have shop class at my school.

That said, this teacher, from this article, did not forbid the pupil out of a desire to persecute - but the much more sensible idea of maintaining the separation of religion and state - something I in the UK don't get to enjoy. Personally, as long as it's a policy of no religion at all, rather than a case of picking which religions are and are not allowed, then that is not a bad thing. He's lucky he has shop class at all, some schools over here don't have that all, which is a real shame as I think practical skills are as valuable as academic ones.(But that's a completely different rant :P). If that pupil pays attention, he can learn a good set of skills to make an altar in his own time.
Astarte Moonsilver

Grinnell, IA

#11 Mar 2, 2010
Chris wrote:
There is no law forbidding individuals to practice their religion in this country. Even prayer in school is fine, so long as it is not led by any school official or as part of a public function. The problem is when this kind of thing goes the other way, and it's the teacher trying to push the religion onto the student.
Exactly! No one stops a student from praying before a meal, no one stops a student from bringing a bible to school if they choose to read it during free time. No one stops students from joining religious based clubs that meet on school grounds after school hours. No one stops students from wearing clothing or jewelry that expresses their religious choice. Was this student actively teaching about his religion while creating this altar in shop class? Was class halted and disrupted because this student wanted to make a table top with some carvings in it so he could use it later for his private religious practice? Would he have been stopped if he had not revealed what this table would be used for? I think that's the problem right there. Once the student revealed the intended use for the table, it became part of the debate about separation of church and state. The shop teacher was not promoting religion, but he was squashing down a student's right to express his personal views. It's the equivalent of grading a term paper with an F because you don't agree with the topic, not because it is poorly written. The building of an altar is not part of Wiccan worship. It is an individual choice, and an expression of faith, just like wearing a Christian cross is not required to be a Christian.
Susan StoHelit

Temecula, CA

#13 Mar 2, 2010
What's the issue? He's being perfectly consistent - not allowing any religious objects to be made.
Ember

Santa Ana, CA

#14 Mar 2, 2010
I believe the teacher did the right thing. I am Wiccan, and I think we need a seperation of all religions from public schools. They shouldn't fire him.

“WOOH!!”

Since: May 08

Vallejo, CA

#15 Mar 3, 2010
If he wasn't allowing ANY religious articles to be made, then I don't think he should be disciplined for that. However, his superiors should have a nice little talk with him over the offensive and bigoted remarks he made.
Anonymous

Panora, IA

#16 Mar 3, 2010
I go to the school, all of the school supports the teacher. The kid went to a Catholic Church Sunday, because he is Catholic not Wiccan.

Since: Feb 08

ANOKA, MN

#17 Mar 4, 2010
Anonymous wrote:
I go to the school, all of the school supports the teacher. The kid went to a Catholic Church Sunday, because he is Catholic not Wiccan.
Most kids go to services with their parents, whether they believe in it or not. A very large number of pagans, particularly Wiccans, were raised Catholic.

“Dance with Fire- Boycott BS”

Since: Apr 07

Moon

#18 Mar 4, 2010
DaBroad wrote:
We spend millions of tax dollars trying to save kids from that."
That doesn't sound like seperation of church and state.

“WOOH!!”

Since: May 08

Vallejo, CA

#19 Mar 4, 2010
CShine wrote:
<quoted text>
That doesn't sound like seperation of church and state.
No kidding. And what exactly is it he thinks the kids are being "saved" from?? OMG... we must save our children from the concept of personal responsibility, respect for self and others, and caring for the environment... oh, the horror!!

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