Teacher’s note to parents sparks controversy

Mt. Vernon educator's newsletter sparks controversy among parents

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Pictured: McCordsville Elementary School 7177 N 600 W, McCordsville, IN 46055. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter) THOMAS J RUSSO

MCCORDSVILLE — A teacher’s note asking children not to talk about God in class has sparked controversy among parents who argued their children have the right to talk about their beliefs.

And the school system agreed, issuing a new release stating school policy allows students to discuss religion or other personal beliefs so long as it doesn’t interrupt class time. The teacher also sent home an apology.

On Wednesday, a McCordsville Elementary School teacher sent a newsletter home with students reminding their parents of homework assignments and upcoming school events. It also included a section labeled “School language,” asking parents to “please have a talk with your child about there being an appropriate time and place of talking about” religion.

The teacher wrote that five students had been talking about God, Jesus and the devil at school. The teacher had intervened once, but the topic came up again, the letter states.

“With McCordsville Elementary being a public school, we have many different religions and beliefs, and I do not want to upset a child (or) parent because of these words being used,” the teacher wrote.

The letter upset some parents who believe their children should be able to express and share their beliefs; one took to social media, posting the letter to Facebook.

Superintendent Shane Robbins said the teacher’s letter came in response to an incident this week involving a debate about religion among students in the class.

District leaders have since met with the teacher to address the letter and review the district’s policy on students’ rights to discuss religion so long as it doesn’t disrupt class, Robbins said.

For more on this story, read Friday’s Daily Reporter.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.