Parents in Katy, Texas, are outraged by a school assignment that told children God's existence wasn't a fact. KTRK-TV reports that the issue came up in a West Memorial Junior High class where students were asked to determine if a statements were "opinion," "factual claim" or "commonplace assertion." One statement read "There is a God."
Jordan Wooley, 12, told the station that she answered the question as both "factual claim" and "opinion."
"She told us it was wrong and a myth of our imagination that is commonly believed to be true but completely wrong," Wooley said. "For her to tell me my religion was wrong shocked me. To me there is a God."
Wooley took her issue up with the school board on Monday night after her mother was outraged when learning of the incident.
"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," said Jordan's mother, Chantel Wooley.
The school released the following statement that indicates appropriate personnel action and that the assignment will no longer be used:
"Yesterday, October 26, at the end of the school day, two West Memorial Junior High parents contacted the school's principal to share their concern over a classroom activity that they felt questioned students' religious beliefs. The school principal immediately responded to the parents by informing them that she would investigate and meet with the teacher the following morning. At the conclusion of the investigation today, the principal determined that the classroom activity included an item that was unnecessary for achieving the instructional standard. The activity, which was intended to encourage critical thinking skills and dialogue by engaging students in an exercise wherein they identified statements as fact, opinion, or common assertion was not intended to question or challenge any student's religious beliefs as reported by some media outlets.
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."