Bias in California Schools

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Personal story:  I was in the office of my son's elementary school asking for the return of a 4th grade book, which I had submitted, be reviewed for the school library. As the office secretary retrieved it for me, one of the teachers who happened to be in the office, asked me excitedly about the book. She seemed to really love the name, "My Life as a Smashed Burrito." She truly lit up with enthusiasm asking me what the book was about.

At first I was thrilled to see such interest in my son’s favorite book. I smiled and said it’s a wonderful Christian book about how a kid deals with bullies at camp. Her face immediately dropped and she very disdainfully said, “Oh! We can’t have any of THOSE books here!” I felt injured and I asked why not? She said very indignantly,  “Because we’re not ALL of that “slant!” I said, (as I felt my anger start to rise), “Well, you have every other “slant” in the school library, why is Christianity the only “slant” that is not allowed?” By now it seemed she began to realize I did not share her views and began to retract her strong sentiment. “Oh, well, <pause and fumble for words> I didn’t mean it COULDN’T be in the library…” I just looked at her with sadness, held up my hands in a gesture to what she just said and replied “But by your own words…”

We Christians face this kind of bias all the time if we try to protest the double standard. The principal of my son's school informed me I was the only parent complaining about the textbook. He’s probably right. Growing numbers of born again Christians are forced to home school. Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family publicly announced all Christians should get their children out of public school. (see news article or see index of many calling children out of public school) Yet the principal said to me what we Christians often hear, “You’re the only one complaining.”

How do teachers treat our children if we complain about the violations of our religious freedom? I still can’t get over the tone of voice in which a “comparative religion” teacher tried to publicly humiliate my son on a popular local radio station, KVEC with Dave Congalton. I am omitting her name because this is not about revenge but I do want to expose the mindset of some (not all) teachers. This woman was clearly frustrated with my point of view and so she went after my son. What could be worse to a 12 year old boy then to be accused of being anything like a “mama’s boy?”

KVEC public radio interview:

Teacher: “Is your other son as pro this mama-movement as the other boy is?”

Jen: It’s not a “mama-movement” it’s a God movement.

Teacher: “But according to kids they look at their moms for that, that’s fair to say.”

Jen: “My sons have seen miracles themselves, they have seen the hand of God themselves, they don’t need me to tell them, they know.”

Teacher: “So why wouldn’t they bring this on themselves then?”

Jen: “Because they’re kids, they’re impressionable, they’re not discerning. That’s what amazes me about what the assistant superintendent said, he said, “You know that day that they were dancing to African gods, your son had the right to stand up and say “no.” And I said to him, how could you say that? This is a 4th grader, he trusts and loves his teacher. You take him to an assembly, he sees all the other kids dancing, he’s in FOURTH grade, you expect him to stand up like an adult and say “I object”? That’s ridiculous. That is ridiculous, he’s a fourth grade kid, and he TRUSTS his teacher, and he should, except when the teacher takes him to something like that.”

To try to humiliate my son as this teacher did on the radio is reprehensible in my opinion. Fortunately I could honestly say (and did) that my son has a strong character, he’s corrected me before and been right! The point is, however, that one would have to be very naïve to think this kind of unfair treatment doesn’t happen to our children when we ask teachers to assign alternative work for them, increasing their workload. Not all teachers, but definitely some.

To be honest, it’s hard not to name this teacher, but this is not about revenge, just exposing the facts. God demands that I love these people. This is my biggest struggle of all. The unfairness, the lies, the cover-ups, all directed at corrupting my sons faith, and I am commanded to love them as Jesus loved those who mocked Him on the cross. God help me be like Jesus when I’m so much like Peter. I can relate to Peter well, Jesus was always correcting him too.

I asked my school board last week if we could try to work this out without lawyers. I don’t want to cost our district a financial burden. Their response to my Administrative Complaint (first step in a law suit) was a vague “we’ll work it out.” When I met with my son’s teacher in an effort to do that, he stated flat out he saw no bias in the textbook. How can I expect him to be sensitive to my concerns if he can’t even see the bias, which is spelled out in ten typed pages? (see "Across the Centuries” review) Even my opponents on radio programs admit they can see the concern. So “working it out” with the teacher doesn’t work. My son cannot opt out, and there are no alternatives to the textbook, no independent study possible, nothing. He’s in the class right now, reading from a book that clearly scorns his beliefs.

I had asked previously and brought up the possibility again, please ask the teachers to not give the assignments that require our kids to “imagine” acts of worship to Allah or any other belief. To refrain from all participation in other religions. That is not unreasonable, especially when you consider that the State of California clearly states they ought not do that:

State Standards

“The school may expose students to a diversity of religious views, but may not impose any particular view.

The school may educate about all religions, but may not promote or denigrate any religion.

The school may inform students about various beliefs, but should not seek to conform students to any particular belief.

The school may sponsor study about religion, but may not sponsor the practice of religion.”


When I pointed this out publicly to the school board, the Assistant Superintendent took me aside and we talked a long time.  He blew off these "state standards" and reminded me that it is the state that is funding the textbook. 

I have tried for months not to name names, but as the school is officially denying children were asked to pray to Allah in any class, I'll get a little specific. It’s been reported by more than one student that in class, a teacher asked children to assume the Muslim position (on hands and knees) and repeat the words of the Quran in praise of Allah. A Christian child was asked and he refused. Other children were asked and complied. One reported doing it at home as well afterwards.

When the school denies it happened, it’s the same as saying these children are lying. Parents who would have rather avoided the issue don’t like cover-ups and another lawsuit is on the horizon. I am requesting from the school a list of the children that attended that class so that parents can be notified of the controversy. I would hope that the school would want to know for certain what did happen in that classroom, and make an effort to notify the parents that it’s claimed to have happened. Talk to your kids.

(I had listed the teacher's name, but it's just not right, I'm not on a witch-hunt and God continually works me to love these people that I feel wrongly teach our children religion to great depths... it's not loving to name names... but this all might have to come out if our school district insists on asking our children to imagine acts of worship (Mecca pilgrimage or being a Muslim soldier fighting for Allah) and participation in religious activities. I hate this. The school will not cease these practices and it's wrong, I don't see a lot of choice)

Read What's Wrong with Across the Centuries (a textbook used by California schools)
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