KATY, TX – A 12-year-old Katy ISD student and her mother took issue with an assignment presented to her seventh grade reading class, according to Houston television station KTRK.
Students at West Memorial Junior High were asked to categorize a list of statements as “opinion,” “fact,” or “assertion.” One of the statements read, “There is a God.”
Jordan Wooley says she identified the statement as fact and opinion, but the teacher told her that answer was wrong.
“She told us it was wrong and a myth of our imagination that is commonly believed to be true but completely wrong,” Wooley said. “For her to tell me my religion was wrong shocked me. To me there is a God.”
Wooley and her mother took her complaint to the Katy ISD school board meeting. Wooley’s mother wants the teacher fired.
“I think that the teacher crossed a serious line when she led impressionable minds to write there was no God…that God wasn’t real. I think that infringes on my child’s rights,” Jordan’s mother, Chantel Wooley said, according to KTRK.
Katy ISD has not fired the teacher but released this statement:
“Yesterday, October 26, at the end of the school day, two West Memorial Junior High parents contacted the school’s principal to share their concern over a classroom activity that they felt questioned students’ religious beliefs. The school principal immediately responded to the parents by informing them that she would investigate and meet with the teacher the following morning. At the conclusion of the investigation today, the principal determined that the classroom activity included an item that was unnecessary for achieving the instructional standard. The activity, which was intended to encourage critical thinking skills and dialogue by engaging students in an exercise wherein they identified statements as fact, opinion, or common assertion was not intended to question or challenge any student’s religious beliefs as reported by some media outlets.
The teacher is distraught by this incident, as some commentary has gone as far as to vilify her without knowing her, her Christian faith, or the context of the classroom activity. Still, this does not excuse the fact that this ungraded activity was ill-conceived and because of that, its intent had been misconstrued. As a result, the activity will no longer be used by the school, and appropriate personnel action will be taken. The school regrets any misconceptions that may have resulted from this teacher-developed classroom activity and assures its school community that the religious beliefs of all students and staff are welcomed and valued at Memorial Junior High.”