KATY, Texas – A Texas seventh-grader is standing up for her religious beliefs after she alleges her teacher forced students to deny that God is real, and threatened them with failing grades if they don’t agree.
Jordan Wooley, a seventh grade student at West Memorial Junior High School in the Katy Independent School District, testified at a school board meeting last night about an assignment in her reading class that caused a serious controversy, and expressed frustration about her teacher’s atheist indoctrination.
“Today I was given an assignment in school that questioned my faith and told me that God was not real. Our teacher had started off saying that the assignment had been giving problems all day. We were asked to take a poll to say whether God is fact, opinion or a myth and she told anyone who said fact or opinion was wrong and God was only a myth,” Wooley told board members.
Students immediately objected, Wooley said, but the teacher refused to consider their position.
Posted by Education Action Group on Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The teacher, “started telling kids they were completely wrong and that when kids argued we were told we would get in trouble. When I tried to argue, she told me to prove it, and I tried to reference things such as the Bible and stories I have read before from people who have died and went to heaven but came back and told their stories, and she told me both were just things people were doing to get attention.
“I know it wasn’t just me who was affected by it. My friend, she went home and started crying. She was supposed to come with me but she didn’t know if she could” because she was so upset, Wooley said.
The teen explained she spoke with other students in the class who were marked down because they believe God is real, as well as compromises proposed by students to avoid rejecting their faith.
“Another student asked the teacher if we could put what we believe in the paper, and she said we could … but you would fail the paper if you do,” Wooley told the board. “I had known before that our schools aren’t really supposed to teach us much about religion or question religion. When I asked my teacher about it she said it doesn’t have anything to do with religion because the problem is just saying there is no God.”
Wooley was accompanied to the meeting by her mother, Chantel Wooley, who texted with her daughter about the assignment earlier in the day and posted a video to Facebook about the incident after school.
“Hey mom so in reading we were required to say that God is just a myth,” Jordan texted her mother shortly before 3 p.m. Monday. “I thought if a question was against our religion that we could put what we think is true but we got in trouble for saying He is true.”
“Wait what? Myth?” Chantel Wooley replied.
“We had to deny God is real. Yeah, we had to say he was just a myth,” Jordan wrote.
“You got in trouble?” Chantel questioned.
“Yeah she told me I was wrong bc I put it was fact,” Jordan wrote.
“What did you say?” Chantel texted.
“I said he is real and she said that can’t be proven,” Jordan replied.
“And what happened?” Chantel wrote.
“I still put fact on my paper,” Jordan texted.
Jordan told school board members her family contacted the school principal, who promised to speak with the teacher and investigate the incident. Board members also vowed to “look into it,” but said school administrators should first focus on addressing the issue.
They also thanked Wooley for voicing her concerns.
In a Facebook video posted to Chantel Wooley’s profile, Jordan explained the situation in more detail.
“Basically, a lot of people said it was true and real, and she told us we were all wrong,” Jordan said. “She told us it was a commonplace assertion, just a myth, and lot of people got upset about it.
“I called my friend to see how she felt about it, and she was just crying,” Wooley continued.
“And how did that make you feel?” an off-camera voice questions.
“Like she was taking away my religion, what I believe is true,” the teen replied.
Texas education activist Alice Linahan told EAGnews the incident, and how district officials respond, could be an especially important indicator of things to come in the Lone Star state.
Katy ISD Superintendent Alton Frailey, president of the national American Association of School Administrators, was a central figure in crafting the state’s education standards as the former president of the Texas Association of School Administrators.
Frailey is now working to expand similar standards nationally, Linahan said, and is reportedly on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s short list to replace education Commissioner Michael Williams, who resigned last week.
Linahan pointed to standards Frailey help craft that require a teacher “understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues,” as evidence that the state standards and closely aligned national Common Core standards divert focus from core subjects to less important issues.
“Will Texas students get a good job when they grow up because they can read well, write well, do math and know history?” Linahan questioned. “Or, will they get a good job, without strong academics, but an emotional attachment and classroom experience to save the world on a global level from a humanist viewpoint, without a belief in God?
“Parents, it is time to step in like Jordan’s mom and say … NO!”
Linahan said Alton Frailey’s role, in both the local issue and the broader education standards, will undoubtedly influence how parents react if he’s appointed the state’s education commissioner by the governor.
“If Governor Abbott names Alton Frailey commissioner of education in Texas, there will be a backlash like … Abbott has never seen before,” Linahan said. “Parents know the truth and we are not going to stand by and watch them do this to our children.”