The ACLU of Indiana has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a seven-year old boy identified only as A.B. who, when asked during recess by a classmate if he attended church, told her that he did not because he did not believe in a god.
This caused the classmate to cry. A playground supervisor noticed this and informed the boy’s teacher who investigated and interrogated the boy about what happened and his beliefs. The boy was then required him to sit by himself during lunch for three days and not interact with other children.
The two children were also sent to speak to another adult employee.
This person asked them what the problem was and A.B. indicated that his classmate had become upset when, in response to her question, he had said he did not go to church and did not believe in God.
Upon hearing this, the adult employee looked at A.B.’s classmate and stated that she should not be worried and should be happy she has faith and that she should not listen to A.B.’s bad ideas. She then patted the little girl’s hand.
These and other indignities inflicted on the boy by the teachers made him feel that he had done something wrong and also caused other children to be mean to him too, and the boy would go home crying on many occasions saying that he felt that everyone at the school, teachers and students alike, hated him.
The pressure on children to conform to societal norms is pretty strong. Teachers should be the ones shielding the holders of minority views from being harassed, not leading the charge.