Religion In Schools

Yesterday, I inadvertently offended a friend on Facebook. You know, one of those situations where your mouth (or in this case, my fingers) takes on a life of its own before your brain has a chance to kick in. Looking back on it now, I feel good that I voiced my opinion, even though I normally don't like confrontation. I usually avoid it at all costs, even when I feel strongly about something.

Anywho, a friend posted a link to an article about a public school in our area that prevented an 8-year old boy (2nd grade) from handing out his Valentines because they contained a message that said, "Jesus loves you." In the article, it stated that the boy was "embarrassed" and "confused."

Well, duh. He's an 8-year old boy, for goodness sake.

Her argument was this, and I quote: This stinks!! Some people really need to find something more important to worry about than this. Like how about all the bullying going on in schools? Maybe we should focus more on that then people trying to spread good things.

She went on to say that if anyone didn't like what the little boy was handing out, they could just throw it away, and that it's people like this that have a problem with religion, but have no problem with taking a religious holiday off from work.

My argument to begin with had to do with the mother of this 8-year old boy. I said that she should be ashamed of herself for sending him to school with the religious Valentines to begin with. Our job as mothers is to try to protect our children from humiliation as much as we can, not contribute to it. She should have known better, and should have known that the gifts would not be allowed in a public school. The blame rests solely on her shoulders in my opinion.

Beyond that, since my friend mentioned bullying and religion in schools together, I had to go further. It is my belief that religion has no place in a public school. There are too many different cultures, too many different religions in one place, and kids are cruel. If they find even the tiniest of difference in someone, they will torment that child mercilessly. Being different because of your beliefs, especially in children this age, only adds fuel to the fire where bullying is concerned. Kids find enough to tease each other about, and the more individuality we can remove from the school (such as religion), the less bullies have in their arsenal. It's not the ideal situation, I know, but again, kids are cruel. It's in their nature. In a perfect world, being different would be A-OK, and everyone would accept everyone else without judgement. Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world, and no matter how much we try to teach our children that being different is a good thing, there is always someone that doesn't believe so and will make life miserable for the next guy. There is a reason for separation of church and state.

While I agree that bullying is a real concern in schools, and that the schools don't do enough to try to prevent it, I think this school was right in not allowing the religious Valentines to be distributed. I feel horrible that this little boy had to endure the stupidity of his mother. Shame on her.

In the end, we agreed to disagree, as I think this argument ends quite often. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I accept that.

If you want to read the full article, you can do so here.