A Christian teacher at a public school in Georgia is using her position to try and convert students to her faith, and she got caught after bragging about it online. According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Jenny Savoy, a reading enrichment teacher at Richards Middle School in Gwinnett County, has spent the past couple of months helping FFRF assemble all kinds of evidence to be used against her.
Exhibit A) The Wall of Quotes in her classroom that includes Jesus saying “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Exhibit B) Posting on Facebook about how she’s launching a prayer group for kids with the approval of the principal: “God is going to move in our school!”
Exhibit C) Posting about how her “Praying for ____ today” magnet will be going on her classroom filing cabinet so “students [can] see their names on it.”
Exhibit D) Posting about how she’s personally targeting a child for conversion. Her lengthy statement includes a bizarre story about how a vending machine wasn’t working properly until she asked Jesus for help.
I took her to the faculty vending machine to get a snack. Every time she put the last two coins in, the machine would spit them back out. She much have tried 5 times. I tried 2 more. Then I put my hand on the machine and said, “Jesus, please make this machine accept our money.” She laughed, but I also saw curiosity on her face. I said, “I’m serious. He will do this just to show you He’s real. He cares about you.” After I prayed, she put the coins in, and guess what happened! I wish you could have seen her eyes! She was utterly amazed.
Sure, some kids may be suffering from bone cancer. But a vending machine not accepting quarters?! That’s the real travesty. Glad God has His priorities straight…
There’s a world of difference between telling kids you care about them because you’ll pray for them and literally bragging about how you plan to capture an agnostic 8th grader for your religion by the end of the school year. This crosses the line so many times over. The fact that Savoy is openly talking about all this suggests she believes she’s doing nothing wrong and that there will be no professional consequences for treating her public school classroom like her personal missionary field.
If a non-Christian teacher openly boasted about all the steps she was taking to convert her students, it would’ve been stopped immediately and that teacher would likely have been suspended. Think I’m wrong? Tell me what other religion could get away with this.
This isn’t cute. This isn’t innocent. There’s no parallel situation in which this sort of (not-at-all subtle) behavior would be acceptable. Just because Savoy is Christian doesn’t give her immunity here.
FFRF doesn’t hold back in laying out all the problems and calling for the district to terminate her contract.
We write to ask that the District take immediate action to ensure that Ms. Savoy is no longer attempting to convert students to Christianity, discussing her religious beliefs with students, proselytizing to students, sharing religious messages with students, giving bibles to students, or in any way imposing her religious beliefs onto students. Gwinnett County Public Schools must remove any religious messages posted for students to see. Ms. Savoy cannot be allowed to lead or participate in any religious clubs in the District, and must immediately cease her efforts to convert students. Given her egregious behavior, Ms. Savoy should be terminated, and administrators at the school should be reprimanded and reminded of their duties under the law. Ms. Savoy has demonstrated that she is not willing to put her students and her secular position as a teacher ahead of her desire to proselytize and push her personal religious beliefs.
At a minimum, the District must ensure that Ms. Savoy fully complies with the Establishment Clause and stops violating the rights of her students. If Ms. Savoy is incapable of teaching without abusing her position to convert students to her personal religion, which appears to be the case, she must be terminated…
A public school teacher who clearly doesn’t give a damn about doing her job shouldn’t be employed in that position. Savoy is obviously more concerned about converting kids than making sure they can read well. She’s not even hiding that. The district isn’t paying her to increase the body count on her church’s Conversion Wall.
It’s despicable behavior. I doubt the district will take any serious action, even though they should, and I doubt any evangelical church leader will have the guts to call out this kind of bad behavior. They all believe the rules that apply to non-Christians simply don’t apply to them, even in a public school. (Especially in a public school.)