Another Student Takes a Stand Against Discrimination

Imagine your child is being discriminated against and embarrassed in class by her teacher, because of the teacher’s disdain for her Christian religion.  Would you allow this to go on?

A few weeks ago, we were approached by Heidi Oatis, whose daughter Tommi appeared to be suffering just this kind of discrimination from her seventh grade teacher in Union City, CA.

During her World History Class, Tommi stated that her teacher would frequently make derogatory statements about Christianity.  Here are some of the facts as reported by Tommi:

  • During a class discussions, the teacher has referred to Christians as “zombie worshippers” and said it’s a very “bloody religion.”
  • When speaking about Jesus’ crucifixion, she told her class that the Bible was false and rhetorically asked, “Why would anyone believe the Bible since it was written 2,000 years ago?”
  • In another instance, the teacher held up a picture of someone drinking out of a “Blacks Only” water fountain and compared it to another picture relating to California’s Proposition 8 (the voter-backed initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman).  As a young African-American, Tommi took offense to this comparison and said it was not fair to equate these two distinct issues.
  • Tommi told her mother about these instances in class, among others, and Mrs. Oatis then met with the teacher. After that meeting, the teacher seemed to take out her frustration on Tommi, once walking by her desk, picking up her work, and then slamming it down on her desk, saying something to the effect of, “You think I’m picking on you?”
  • Finally, Tommi and her mother met with the Vice Principal and this teacher.  Tommi was practically begging to be removed from this classroom, but the Vice Principal refused.

We are informed that this is not the first instance this teacher has received complaints about her antics and comments during class; we know of several other parents and students who have made complaints.  Still, nothing has been done to rectify the situation.

This month, we sent a demand letter to the Principal of the school and the Superintendent of the school district outlining these events.  We believe that this teacher is violating the Establishment Clause by taking a hostile stance against the Christian religion in her classroom.  We firmly believe that if teachers cannot promote Christianity in the classroom, they must not be free to display hostility towards Christianity, either.

Please keep Mrs. Oatis and her daughter Tommi in your prayers. They are courageous to take a stand on this situation that no one has seen fit to correct yet.  And, please continue to support Advocates with your prayers, as well.  We are waiting on a response from the school district, but if they do not immediately take action, we may have to take this case into litigation.