KATY, Texas – When Texas middle schooler Jordan Wooley recently highlighted a reading assignment that required students to deny God, school administrators, her teacher, and some students painted her as a liar.
But a flood of support from residents across the state, including and Gov. Greg Abbott, is buoying her spirits as she heads to the Governor’s Mansion Saturday to share her story.
Wooley, 12, testified before the Katy Independent School Board last Monday about a reading assignment at West Memorial Junior High in which her teacher instructed students to label statements as fact, opinion or commonplace assertion, which her teacher characterized as a myth.
When Wooley and numerous other students answered fact to the statement “There is a God,” the teacher told them they’re wrong, God is a myth, Wooley said.
Superintendent Alton Frailey vowed to investigate the incident, and the next day apologized to Wooley. The district issued a statement that said the “ill-conceived” assignment “included an item that was unnecessary for achieving the instructional standard,” Fox 26 reports.
But the next day Frailey called a press conference to allege Wooley is a liar and countering Wooley’s assertions the assignment was graded, and students would be penalized if they answered that “fact” to “There is a God.”
“Nothing that the principal has found supports the assertions that the teacher deliberately threatened (students), or tried to force them to deny God,” Frailey said, according to ABC 13. “In the investigation those assertions were not corroborated by the other students. Was the activity graded? It was not graded. Was it 40 percent of their grade? Were the students told they had to deny God? No one corroborated that, at all.”
“If I had any reason to believe or evidence to support that a teacher did what has been alleged I would stand with Jordan, as well,” he said. But when a flood of students and parents later confirmed Wooley’s account, Frailey broke his word and issued a politically correct statement instead.
Frailey’s comments, of course, put a target on Wooley’s back and some of her classmates reacted accordingly with taunts and harassment for standing up for her faith. At the same time, Gov. Greg Abbott spoke out in support of Wooley, something her mother, Chantel Wooley, said has lifted her spirits.
“Governor Abbott is the only person in any position of authority in Texas that stood up for Jordan from the very beginning of this ordeal. He set an example of what it means to stand up for the truth and God,” Chantel Wooley said.
“His instinct was to see the truth, coming from a child. What people do not know, is how bad Jordan was hurting at school after she spoke out publicly, how many people turned away from her, including her principal, the Katy ISD school board and Superintendent Frailey,” she continued.
“She was so upset – she said no one believes me mom, sent via text messages from school. That was when I saw the tweet by Gov. Abbott. I texted her to let her know that the governor stood with her and it changed everything.”
Text messages between Wooley and her mother illustrate how stressful the situation has been at school since Frailey attacked Wooley.
“I have been getting both good and bad sides at school, but I just ignore the bad and thank the good,” Wooley texted her mother.
“Don’t stress my love. You told the truth. That is all that matters,” Chantel Wooley replied.
“People are sticking up the middle finger to me. People are saying curse words at me. People are saying I am an attention seeking hog that’s just a b’,” Woodley replied.
“The governor stands with you,” Chantel texted back.
“OMG,” Wooley responded.
Chantel texted Wooley a link to Abbott’s tweet: “I’m proud of this 7th grader’s unyielding commitment to God. She’s Texas tough. #IStandWithJordan.”
“Dang!” Wooley replied.
Abbott’s staff later invited Wooley to visit the Governor’s Mansion this Saturday, which she gladly accepted.
But Abbott is not the only Texan to stand with Jordan, and God.
The Wooleys have also received a flood of support from not only parents and students in the Katy ISD, but from across the state of Texas.
“I am proud of the courage shown by Jordan, some of her peers and their parents. In today’s environment, where administrators are trained by TASA (Texas Association of School Administrators) to quiet opposition and shun parents who stand up for their children, I think this was a great step forward for shoring up student and parental rights. People need to be of good courage. – Kim Belcher, Katy ISD parent.”
“As a Texas Mom, I applaud Governor Abbott’s support of Jordan Wooley and her family by inviting them to the Governor’s mansion. It is because of one child, with the courage to question what she and her classmates were being taught, which has given other students and their parents the courage to question and speak out publicly. For that, I am forever grateful to them. We now see clearly the real impact on students of TASA’s (Texas Assoc. of School Administrators) New Vision for Texas Public Education, which mirrors the vision of the Common Core State Standards nationally. The fact is, it was Alton Frailey, Katy ISD’s superintendent, who led the implementation of this vision, as president of TASA.
“I also applaud Gov. Abbott for letting Texas parents know, that Alton Frailey is not on the list of possible candidates to replace resigning Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams. – Alice Linahan, Argyle, Texas.”
“I am so proud of the courage Jordan has shown in standing up for her faith and God. I pray Jordan’s courage and testimony awaken parents to what is happening in classrooms in America as a result of the nationalization of education. – Meg Bakich, Highland Park, Texas.”
“What happened in Katy ISD is due to the shift away from a traditional academic education, based on fact and knowledge to the 21st Century/Common Core model under education reform, based on opinion and the subjective. Children need to be taught reading, writing, arithmetic and history that has not been revised to fulfill a political agenda or bias. Through Jordan’s courage, TASA’s new vision of education has now been exposed in Texas. – Mellany Lamb, Lewisville, Texas.”
“Jordan Woolery and her bravery I can pray will be modeled after others her age. I am so proud of her and abhor the Katy Administration for marginalizing her for speaking up. Our education system has changed drastically and unfortunately it is not geared to teaching ‘Absolute Truth’ or academic achievement any longer. Everything is now up for debate with the radical education reform. – Ginger Russell, Montgomery, Texas.”
“By standing up for herself, Jordan- perhaps unknowingly- stands up for me. By defending her faith in God, she defends mine, and for this I am grateful. I am further grateful for what has become a restoration of my confidence in the character of our children. The type of character exhibited by this young lady over the past few days is an example that adults would do well to likewise demonstrate. Her mother must be an incredible example of honor and courage for Jordan to show such principle, regardless of whatever lack of peer approval she may garner, whatever resistance and outright defamation she may be required to endure.
“I am very grateful to Jordan for her principle, honesty, and courage. – Joe Palmer, Burleson, Texas.”
Here’s Wooley’s original statement to the school board:
Posted by Education Action Group on Tuesday, October 27, 2015