Atheist teacher claims to be 'bullied' by middle school students
An atheist teacher in a Florida middle school complained on an atheist Facebook page that she was being "harassed" and "bullied" by students who would invite her to church events and loudly say "God bless you" when someone sneezed.
The school district is looking into the matter because the teacher used disparaging comments in her Facebook postings to describe her students.
Susan Creamer, a teacher at Merritt Brown Middle School in Panama City, took to the Atheists of Bay County's private Facebook page to vent her frustrations about students in her class who invite her to church or teasingly yell "God Bless You" when someone sneezes, EAGnews.org reported.
"There is a bevy of boys in one of my classes (middle school) who are taking turns either inviting me to their church or leaving (anonymously) flyers inviting me to church events. Today, I found one on the A/V cart I use for a podium," Ms. Creamer wrote, according to a screenshot published by NBC News affiliate WJHG.
"Every time any child sneezes, they loudly say 'God bless you!' and look in my direction. I have complained twice to my principal – one last month and once today," she continued. "She has spoken privately to one or two of the little cretins, but it seems to do NO GOOD. I am feeling bullied and harassed. It has become intolerable. I don't feel like talking with the parents will stop the inappropriate behaviors because, for all I know, the parents are encouraging them."
The Atheists of Bay County page is closed to members only, and Ms. Creamer didn't name the students or the school she worked for in her post.
Karen Tucker, a spokeswoman for Bay District Schools, told the Northwest Florida Daily News that it is against school policy to criticize students on the internet.
"I don't think it matters (if the page is closed), because eventually someone else is going to see it posted, which is what happened," she said. "People were re-posting. If you said things on there, which she did, about students, no, I don't think it matters."
Ms. Tucker said Human Resources is investigating the post, along with other comments made by Ms. Creamer on the Atheists of Bay County page, the Daily News reported.
In an official statement, the district said it does not "condone the use of disparaging comments about our students in any form, on any social media platform or in any school."
"Unfortunately, like any other organizations of our size, we have had to address these issues occasionally with our employees," the statement said.
There is no reporting on what precipitated the razzing from students. How do they know she's an atheist? Almost certainly because she told them. Many atheists use disparaging language to describe the religious beliefs of others, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if that were the case here.
Even so, the problem isn't the kids "bullying" the teacher; it's the teacher's lack of control in her classroom. Has she tried to discuss the issue with students, or did she simply run to the principal and ask her to take care of it? Perhaps she should also change her attitude toward students of faith and respect them for their beliefs. She might be surprised to get some respect for her beliefs in response.