On Tuesday morning, in a private Facebook group for atheists, a mother named Heather Estes told a devastating story. Her two children, students at Stanton Elementary School in Kentucky, have been ostracized because they don’t attend a before-school Christian ministry called “Upper Room.” The problem wasn’t just that other kids were shunning them; they were bullying her kids, even slamming tables into them.
When her son told his teacher that he wanted to talk to the principal about it, the teacher responded by asking him to stand in front of the classroom and tell everyone about his beliefs, adding “You’re going to have to stand up for yourself if you insist on being different.” That same teacher also said, “Historians agree that the Bible is the most historically accurate book of all time.” (Citation needed.)
I’m only sharing this now because Estes has gone public with her story, speaking with a local news station. Their reporting revealed another tidbit that makes everything even more absurd:
“My children are asked every day, ‘do you believe in God? Why don’t you go?” Estes told LEX 18. “He’s been told by teachers things like the Atheists will be eaten by bears.”
… the hell?! (There is a Bible passage about bears mauling 42 little boys, but that has nothing to do with atheism.)
Powell County Schools Superintendent Michael Tate insisted that the District is looking into the matter. But how do you change a Christian culture at the school that’s so toxic?
I admire Estes’ bravery in speaking out, though. Decent Christians should be appalled by this behavior. No child should have to deal with religious bigotry at a public school.