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According to the NY Times, David Paszkiewicz, a History teacher at Kearny High School in New Jersey, told his students “that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven.”

These words come courtesy of recordings made by a student, Matthew LaClair.

As a result, the teacher has been suspended and the student can get on with his life.

I’m just kidding.

Actually, the teacher is getting the support of everyone and their mother. And the student is receiving death threats.

From the NY Times article:

Greice Coelho, who took Mr. Paszkiewicz’s class and is a member of his youth group, said in a letter to The Observer, the local weekly newspaper, that Matthew was “ignoring the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gives every citizen the freedom of religion.”

Maybe if Paszkiewicz ever got around to teaching the Constitution instead of preaching fundamental Christianity, Greice would’ve learned that the First Amendment allows you to believe what you choose to believe. It doesn’t give you the right to preach your beliefs to students who are forced to listen. In fact, the courts have repeatedly said that proselytizing is not allowed in public schools.

The article goes on to quote other Kearny residents who are mad at Matthew for “baiting” the teacher and taking the story public. Guess what? If a kid asks a teacher a question that’s not relevant to the class, the teacher has to say it’s not appropriate to talk about and then get back to teaching. Any teacher who takes the bait deserves to be reprimanded.

The recordings themselves are just infuriating. Listen to them by clicking on the multimedia section in this article.

What does this teacher say about Evolution?

“Has anybody ever observed it?”

No one can see species evolving directly because it takes millions of years and we live in the span of decades. Basic rule of evolution. Anyone with basic science knowledge should understand this. I’m wondering why this guy is a teacher. I don’t care that he’s not teaching science. If you don’t know basic knowledge of the core subjects, what makes you think you should go into a career where you have to educate others?

The students on the audiotape (including LaClair) manage to bring some intelligent dialogue into this by questioning the validity of what Paszkiewicz is saying, but none of this is a discussion to be having in a History class.

At what point did the teacher forget that the church and the school are different buildings?

(And does anyone think the kids in Paszkiewicz’s church youth group raise as many good questions as the students in the school did?)

I assume Christians would be pissed off if I walked into a classroom and told students that God wasn’t real and they were being indoctrinated to think otherwise. (According to Paszkiewicz, indoctrination is why we believe in evolution.) And yet, where are those Christians who are speaking out against this man’s attempt to proselytize?

Bad teachers make me mad…

[tags]atheist, atheism, Christianity, New York Times, David Paszkiewicz, Kearny High School, New Jersey, evolution, Big Bang, dinosaurs, Noah’s ark, heaven, Matthew LaClair, Greice Coelho, First Amendment[/tags]