One teacher's nightmare with fundy parents.
This is an unsual post for me. Unsual because most of it is written by someone else. I was alerted to a discussion on a website by one of our readers. Here a female teacher outlines the problem she had with a couple of fundamentalist parents of one of her students. The father is a fundy minister. The teacher lives in the Theocratic Republic of Texas where morons elect the brain dead to high office. I will make some comments after you read her message.
I teach 10th grade world history. My students are 15-16. I had a very interesting conference with parents today.... I have to tell you about the first conference I had with these BAPTIST MINISTER parents... They came to me with concerns that their son, in their opinion, was not reaching his academic potential. David failed the test we took over World Religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese philosophy, Zoroastrianism, Islam) because what were were studying was "evil" and "wrong" and he refused to study the material. He chose to fail the test rather than study something "immoral." The parents told me that what I was teaching (which is mandated by the Texas Education Agency and is LAW and I am REQUIRED to teach it or lose my job) was "inappropriate" and I should be "ashamed of myself" for PROMOTING these "false" religions. They then wanted to know if there was an alternative assignment I could give their son to make up for his low test grade. Of course, I refused to give another assignment because of inequity. I told them that I did NOT preach these religions but presented them objectively as historical fact. We then discussed how this test was not the root of his low average but rather how he sleeps in class, fails other assignments which have nothing to do with other religions, basically turns in no homework, and does not participate in any classroom activities. They also informed me that they monitor very closely who their son associates with, will not allow him to have friends who aren't "active Christians," and that he is not allowed to even speak to girls until he is 18. We worked everything out and I thought all was well....until today... Second conference... Now it's not subject matter why David failing...apparently it is ME These same parents told me, and I'm not shitting you, that the reason their son is failing is because and I quote, I am too pretty. I distract him with my looks and they even suggested to me that I not wear make-up and dress much more "matronly." Apparently, he cannot communicate with me that he doesn't understand something because he is so intimidated by me. He also doesn't want to stay for tutorials because he is "afraid to be alone with me." I wanted to SCREAM....no, the reason for this is because you haven't allowed your son to socialize with females appropriately and he doesn't know how to act around a member of the opposite sex!! The parents then demanded that their son be moved into a classroom with a teacher who was much less attractive and proceeded to go around the school looking at all the teachers.
Here are my observations. Notice that this is a course which teaches what the world's religions believe. Now it is often argued that the fundamentalists want God in the schools. False. Nor do they want religion in school. What they want is their god and their religion and only their god and their religion. That folks is the nature of fundamentalism. They don't respect the rights of others because others don't have rights. To them their god is sovereign and you have no right to disobey him. In other words you only have the right to live according to their religion. Anything else would require having the right to disobey god and they don't believe that right can exist.
Second I have long noted that fundamentalists tend to be dominated by underachievers, by the lacklustre, the failures, the lower classes of society. The less successful an individual the more likely they are to be a fundamentalist. Survey after survey shows this to be the case. Fundamentalists are more likely to have dropped out of high school, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to have been in jail. In one word they are more likely to be failures.
I think this has a lot to do with the religion they pick. First, these people can then claim to be better than others. They are the "saved" while the rest of the world are sinners doomed to hell. They are "walking with God" while the rest of us are not. They have the full "truth" in "the book" while the rest of us have false ideas and false idols. In other words they have a belief system that takes people who more likely to be failures and tells them that they are in fact superior to everyone else.
But if they are better than the rest of us and failures at the same time how do they explain that? One thing they are doing more and more is finding scapegoats. Fundamentalist Christians are more likely to divorce so why does this happen? Well they want to say marriage is under attack and gays are at fault. Why do they do less well in general? Try the line that they are victims of discrimination by secular humanists. They are constantly looking for excuses.
These parents are classic cases. They are willing to blame everything and anything for their son's failure. What they won't accept is that the fault lies closer to home -- actually the fault lies at home. It is a combination of their antiquated parenting, their absurd theology, their son's lack of interest, etc. The fault is not the course or that the teacher isn't ugly enough. They could find a teacher ugly enough to teach Sunday School and the boy would still be doing poorly.
In the past I've posted about David Hyles, the preacher son of Jack Hyles, a leading fundamentalist nutter. Rev Hyles, the father, pretended his son was this paragon of virtue. Those of us who knew David knew this was the truth. Far from it in fact. But Preacher Hyles would hear none of it. It didn't fit his world view of himself and his faith. Eventually David got out of control as women in numerous fundamentalist churches can testify. What he did in high school was mild compared to the kind of adult he became and a few minutes on the internet will confirm that. But if you turn a blind eye to reality once you will turn a blind eye to reality again and again. And fundamentalism is built upon the premise of turning a blind eye all the time.