Teacher accepts student's assignment about Michael Jackson, but not the one about God

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  • LelandTC West Valley City, 00
    Oct. 25, 2013 6:39 p.m.

    Just shows how people avoid a subject to prevent getting someone mad at you. If you don't want mud splashed on you, stay away from the mud pit so to speak. This would not have happened just 30 years ago because there was no isolationist's interpretation of the law. This is not how to teach tolerance.
    Teachers should talk about religion as it is practiced by various faiths around the world, just so kids can understand the nuances of culture. Let them teach it the same way they teach other subjects. Call it s-o-c-i-a-l s-t-u-d-i-e-s. You can teach the ideas behind religion without prosletyzing. I learned about Hinduism, Budhism, catholicism, protestantism, and Judism at my public school while growing up (sorry, I never knew what a muslim was - except Cashius Clay became one), and I am none of those denominations. It gave me an understanding that just because I think a certain way doesn't mean that others do. This has allowed me to co-exist peacefully, and respectfully with others regardless of personal beliefs.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Oct. 20, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    I say "shame on the teacher" for the way she behaved to that young man. You can only feel sorry for human beings who choose the side of the Devil. They are blind to the damage they are creating and therefore feel what they believe and do is right. Oh my goodness, their shock when they awake to what they have done and hopefully they will choose to make good changes in their life so they can be an attribute to their families and community.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Sept. 21, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    Article quote: "Shead contacted the school principal about the incident. “Can you show me this in a policy where this child cannot talk about God on paper?” Shead said in her interview. “I told the principal this morning, 'Would it be better if she wrote about Ellen DeGeneres?' Of course there was no comment.”"

    And wise people know there is more of this kind of persecution of religious people (and specifically Christians) on the horizon. To deny this is to stick one's head in the sand.


    Oh, well. I guess the positive thing to do is to hang on to the fact that persecution makes our (and God's) eventual victory all the MORE sweet!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    "This just cannot be tolerated in the Progressive model of education. "

    Oh please... Progressives don't say that religion can't be taught, just that the teaching of religion can't be biased in favor of one particular religion. There's nothing wrong with say some sort of exploratory religions class.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    All I was saying is that teaches are confused by the constant legalese and policies thrown their way. One could look at one way or the other way. Some teachers would think it policy or legal to allow a discussion or paper on God, others might shy away believing that separation of church in state would apply in this case. Bottom line, my main point is that teachers are totally confused by the endless policy garbage that spews their way. Enough is enough.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 9:32 a.m.

    RE: EternalPerspective, “ the little girl in question was naming "God" with a non-specific identity as a moniker of her faith. She was essentially stating an affirmation of her beliefs.’

    True, can you imagine if she was clear about Bible-believing Christian beliefs about God.

    .. without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh(Jesus), justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.(1 Tim 3:16)

    Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.(1 John 3:16)

    “For in Christ lives all the fullness of *God in a human body”. Colossians 2:9(NLT) Or in him dwells all the completeness of the Godhead bodily.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Sept. 18, 2013 3:51 a.m.


    I see your points and understand that everyone wants to promote "tolerance" in this day as to not offend those who lack representation. Whether one agrees with that trend in our culture or not is another matter.

    However, the little girl in question was naming "God" with a non-specific identity as a moniker of her faith. She was essentially stating an affirmation of her beliefs.

    Should that be denied any more than what other kids might attribute as their role model? Should children only be able to say their role models are other people like celebrities, but not God? How is that fair to those who believe in God as given by groups who subscribe to the ideology of secularism promoting so called "tolerance"?

    Quite simply, when you eliminate the rights of expression because fear has convinced the masses such things as religion are offensive, then personal freedom is lost. That is the heart of the matter here, not what form of God the little girl expressed. The whole political correctness movement has everyone sacred stiff to be sued or otherwise publically lashed for affirming belief of deity. It is hypocrisy and unjust.

  • OnlytheCross Bakersfield, CA
    Sept. 18, 2013 1:55 a.m.

    Satan has teachers and schools right where he wants them. Uptight, afraid, antagonistic.

    But that's exactly what Christ said: "If you love Me, the world will hate you." So put on your armor (Ephesians 6) and be prepared for the battle. If kind words win the day, take off the armor for a bit...

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 10:15 p.m.

    Oh my goodness. I see that so many of us have a difficult time reading the entire article.

  • Wookie Omaha, NE
    Sept. 17, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    "In God We Trust"

    Sept. 17, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    Many years ago, a student in my class gave a report on her belief in witchcraft. Her presentation was a simple, objective statement of her belief, and I had no problem with the way she presented it. But when a male student began an irrational argument, and she threatened to put a hex on him as proof, I had to shut the discussion down.
    Teachers encountering controversy in assignments given is not new, folks. This was back in the late 1960's!

  • One of a Few Layton, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    Might it just be the teacher was right. The assignment was to right about an idol. Lots of folks can agree that God or Jesus or Zeus - whoever you worship is a great god but in terms of the assignment, it wasn't to write abut god. It was to write about an idol. The teacher probably should have clarified, it wasn't an assignment to write about deity. I can imagine the teacher wanted the students to think of a contemporary individual and try articulate what about the person is appealing. Just a thought.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Sept. 17, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    It seems the best way for students to write about God these days would be to reference him as allah.

    Most teachers would not automatically give you a lesser grade for fear of discrimination.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Sept. 17, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    No one should be surprised. Liberals feel EXTREMELY threatened when God or religion is mentioned.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    RE: EternalPerspective, How are other domineering ideologies in the world any different?

    Evolution is not only the basic premise of all atheistic and *humanistic religions.
    Any form of atheism, pantheism must be based on evolution.

    The great ethnic religions : Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism and other such faiths are essentially based on some form of evolution, accepting the space-time cosmos as the ultimate eternal reality and denying any transcendent Creator of the cosmos. *Platonic pre-existence of the soul.

    Yet Orthodox Judeo, Christianity are different they believe in creation (ex Nihlio).

  • DMJ Newbury Park, CA
    Sept. 17, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    The Scientist, "Well, duh. Michael Jackson was real!"

    Yes, regrettably and unfortunately he was.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    so, in defence, some people think Michael Jackson IS God. However -- it is another classic example of a teaching assigning a vague assignment. If teacher didn't want theological discussions, teacher could have limited the assignment to discussion of human beings.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    While we all agree this was a bad decision on the part of the teacher, there is a deeper issue. Just look at the policies in the schools, and in government. They have created an atmosphere where a teacher is so concerned about a child brining religion into a classroom that they had a child change an essay.

    When will the micromanaging end and when can we allow common sense into enter our lives again?

  • sincity draper, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 11:50 a.m.


  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Sept. 17, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    Hear, Hear! Sleight / Complaint / Investigation / Rectification / Apology.

    As it should be.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    @ The Scientist:

    Michael Jackson was about as unreal as a person can get.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    The Scientist
    Provo, UT
    You are about 2000 years behind. The apostle Thomas learned something you too can learn.
    Yours truly,'
    A fellow scientist

  • E.S Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    I think the mom was right, but personally I do not see any problem with Ellen DeGeneres -- I love her!

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    In this case, the teacher was wrong and the school said as much and corrected it. The ongoing problem over the decades has been encroachment upon religious freedom by schools and teachers trying to push their own beliefs on students and others, not schools limiting those expressions. The violations come into play when a teacher or student speaker has a captive audience, particularly in a forum where any response or disagreement is not allowed, and/or where the beliefs being proffered would reasonably appear to have the power of the State behind them. For example, posting of religious materials or erection of religious symbols by the school or State is a clear First Amendment violation, regardless of whether the religion being promoted is "majority" or "minority" religion. Keep in mind that if we "let God back in the classroom", as some demand, the God being brought in may not be the same God that you worship, and the forms of worship being promoted may be for a religion which you do not believe or find acceptable for your children.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Sept. 17, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    Physics27, "You would also write off any evidences as emotion or lack of intelligence". Physics, just because you don't believe it doesn't mean it isn't true.

  • Christmas Carole LAS CRUCES, NM
    Sept. 17, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    EXACTLY as I feel(not sure I could have said it as well..)THANKS!

  • grams small town, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    Are kids allowed to take His name in vain? Yes. Teachers take his name in vain? Yes. But, oh, spare us, don't ever use His name in something positive. We really NEED Him to watch over us in these scary situations!! How long will God bless America?

  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    Sept. 17, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    A nice ending to a conflict, if all was reported here. Understanding opened up, and no one was gunned down. I am actually glad that it came out in the first place, showing how the parent asked school authorities to show her the evidence, and gave them the opportunity to respond. Isn't that the goal of misunderstanding?

    Both of my parents were educators and teachers have a tough time dealing with the obnoxious parent. As a superintendent and principal, my Dad had to work with all kinds, from school boards to egotistical administrators. We had to keep encouraging my Mom to retire from substitute teaching up to age 78. Her phone would ring off the hook in St. George, seeking her teaching gifts. Her secret was loving kids, listening to all sides, and then sticking to her goal of educating.

    A funny aside shows how impartial a teacher my Mom was. Not knowing that a 2nd grade Michael Jackson in her class was famous, she pointed to a little Jackson Five singer belting out a song on our TV. "Oh, that little guy needs tutoring. He daydreams all day!"

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 6:46 a.m.

    Interesting that the article was about writing about your "idol", but that God was not allowed...

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Sept. 17, 2013 5:10 a.m.


    Well said and true to the reality of conditions in this country not so easily seen by many who are fooled by political correctness, secularism, and other matters of one-sided favoritism.

    When the freedoms of one ideology (secularism) trump freedoms of another (religion), yet both are supposed to have equal protection under the law, then the implementation of the constitution has become subjective. Freedom is then biased.

    People say, I don't see any discriminatory practice against religion and believe those who claim such events are religious right nut jobs. But, that's because their beliefs aren't being attacked constantly. Their advocates are the aggressors in tearing down traditional values in favor of secular principles and political correctness.

    The hypocrisy in the implementation of these types of actions and policy sold as fairness, equality, and balance shifts from being a mantra to a corrupt fight for control and domination.

    Isn't that in fact exactly why most people who brand themselves secularists, atheists, and advocates of political correctness, take no offense or see no harm in their beliefs trumping the opposition, just like religion has historically done?

    How are other domineering ideologies in the world any different?

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:53 p.m.


    Liberals are the foremost, number one champions of free speech, free expression and open minded discussion.

    That is unless they disagree with you.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:43 p.m.

    If the little girl had just said, "I look up to Allah," there would have been no problem.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:20 p.m.

    Based on the historical bigotry, racism, and violence perpetrated in the name of religion in that region of the country, I would say that the God they worship in Tennessee would not be a proper "idol" to write about.

    Thanks for religion-bating though, DesNews.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:16 p.m.

    Did you guys happen to read to the bottom of the article where the school says it was wrong of the teacher and the parties have all reconciled? If there was an outstanding issue, I could see how this would be national news, but there is no outstanding issue here.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:13 p.m.

    The government didn't limit the child's freedom of speech. A teacher made an error in judgment, and the district corrected the problem. This just looks like another attempt to show that our religious freedoms are being eroded. For every teacher who makes an error like this, I am sure we could find a dozen who would allow the student to write a book report about the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Quran.

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:01 p.m.

    @Kings Court and @Howard Beal I think just the opposite would be true. If teachers were really concerned about illegality, then shouldn't the teacher have thought that disallowing the student to write about God would be asking for trouble? As a teacher myself, I am astonished that the teacher did that. Most teachers know that most of what originates from the student is protected under the 1st Amendment. The courts have ruled that there are some things that do not such as certain dress codes that can be determined by the school district.

  • Physics27 Cedar City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    The scientist,
    As a scientist myself I wonder what motivates you to profess there is no God. The idea of god is something that is impossible to disprove. Just because you don't see him does not mean he does not exist. You would also write off any evidences as emotion or lack of intelligence. The idea of professing god is not real seems unscientific to me. You can say you do not believe in god but can not claim to know that he does not exist.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:38 p.m.

    I was about to come down hard on the teacher even though I support the profession. However, after reading Kings Court, it seems to make sense. Teachers live in a legal wasteland. I mean hand sanitizer is now a controlled substance banned in some schools. I mean teachers don't know what to do anymore because everything is illegal or an OSHA violation.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:18 p.m.

    This article makes it sound like the teacher is some kind of boogey-man, but odds are the teacher was trying to be safe. There are so many can and can't do's in public schools, that you just about need a lawyer to teach a classroom full of kids anymore. Part of the problem is that there is such a diverse set of opinions among parents that it is easy to offend someone over something. I think teachers just need to have a John Galt moment and vanish for a while because they can't take the madness anymore, then see what happens.

  • FromSunnyStGeorge ST GEORGE, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:09 p.m.

    It is getting harder and harder to convince government that they have no right to limit free expression of religion. They have been indoctrinated for years that religion is bad, so of course it would be natural to chastise the child that looks up to God. This just cannot be tolerated in the Progressive model of education.

    Like any right we now enjoy, if we don't exercise it we lose it.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:14 p.m.

    Well, duh. Michael Jackson was real!

  • Bubble SLC, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:00 p.m.

    Depending on the parameters of the assignment, I see no reason god should have been disallowed. I also see no reason to disallow any of the Roman, Greek, or Pagan gods or goddesses, any of the Disney princesses, or, for that matter, Ellen DeGeneres - although I am puzzled as to why the mother would single out Ellen and suggest there is some reason she would be more or less acceptable than any other individual real or imagined.

  • JD Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    So the teacher didn't understand the policy about not discussing God in the classroom. Yawn.