Judge rules against creationist teacher who called Buddhist student’s faith ‘stupid


The parents of a Buddhist student in Louisiana ridiculed by a creationist teacher won their lawsuit against the school district, the American Civil Liberties Union revealed Friday.

The student, known as C.C., was asked by sixth-grade teacher Rita Roark to answer the following question on a test: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!” When C.C. failed to respond “Lord,” Roark responded “you’re stupid if you don’t believe in God.” She also frequently denigrated his Buddhist faith, as well as the Hindu faith, referring to both as “stupid.”

When his parents complained to Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb, they were told that “this is the Bible belt,” so they should expect to find the Christian God in the classroom. Ebarb advised them that if they wanted an ungodly classroom, they should transfer C.C. to a school where “there are more Asians.”




What kind of test would even have this question on it? Ugh.


Sabine Parish, as you might guess, is extremely rural. The largest town (and the only one I spotted on Google Maps) has a population of only 2700.

Telling the parents that their child should go to a different school is not only rude and unprofessional, it would be impossible to do unless the family moved out of the parish. Basically, the school superintendent told the parents to get out of area. If such attitudes are widespread, the family might need to do that anyway


Yeah. You can’t be doing that. Judge made the right call.



I agree with mjwise, why is a question like that on a test anyway? I’m glad the judge sent her and some other teachers for training because it sounds like they’ve never even heard of the First Amendment.


What about the freedom to say dumb things which is also protected by the First Amendment?

She didn’t put the kid in jail. Just called her belief stupid. Which hurt some people’s feelings. This shouldn’t have gone past the school administration.

In this we essentially have freedom of religion vs. freedom of speech. It’s a lose lose. Including those Buddhists who want to express their religious belief no matter how stupid anyone thinks they are.

It is really kinda sad.


I don’t think so. The teacher is free to speak as she wishes, outside the classroom. Inside the classroom, she can not use her position and authority as an opportunity to evangelize. The federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have ruled on this matter several times.


Could you provide the cases? I would like to learn more.

I think her authority comes into question when she calls a student stupid. Also she is not evangelizing if she is calling people stupid. She is just calling other faiths dumb, and the people of other faiths dumb.

Again I think the problem with this is the administration not some bigoted teacher.

  1. She cannot present the Christian creation story as fact.
  2. As an employee of a government school, she does not have full first amendment rights on the job. She cannot use her position to promote or bash a religion.
  3. What would you have the administration do? They should have backed the parents, they didn’t, so they got sued.


What if the teacher has a student with two mommies or two daddies? Can the teacher tell the student that despite what the Supreme Court says, the student’s parents aren’t really married, because marriage is between one man and one woman?

If not, isn’t the teacher’s religious liberty being violated? Why is the teacher’s religious liberty less important than that of a Catholic baker?


The catholic baker does not work on behalf of the government in schools funded by taxpayers. They are a private business owner.

For the record, I don’t subscribe to the notion that a baker should be able to refuse a gay couple, but the above is the argument.


Why can’t she just tell the truth, that some states recognize same sex marriages? What does lying to a student about their parents romantic life/legal recognition have to do with religious liberty?


They should have backed the parents. Teacher should have been reprimanded immediately. It seems this had been going on along time with no intervention. They should have intervened. I firmly believe in the less litigation is the best litigation.


So employees lose their religious liberty when they are on the job. Is everyone on board with that reasoning?


Not the reasoning. But there are supposed federal court cases to back this up. They are bigger than me so I guess I have to be on board with the findings at least.


Why does the teacher’s religious liberty trump the student and his family’s religious liberty? Would you feel the same if the student were Catholic and the teacher were Muslim, telling him how stupid he is not to be Muslim? Is that really the place of a public-school teacher?

On a separate note, do you really feel it is EVER proper for a teacher to call a student “stupid”?


Where on earth did this idea that you have some sort of right to say whatever comes to mind regarding religion at work come about? That is not the meaning of religious liberty in the U.S. and never has been. Part of having most forms of employment is agreeing to speech restrictions on the job - including against talking about religion in many cases. There is absolutely nothing new about this. I for one am glad I can go out to eat at a restaurant and not have the server’s “religious freedom” mean I have to accept having a Chick tract delivered with the bill.


Because her religion tells her that would make her complicit in a sin. Why can’t the Catholic baker make exactly the same cake he would have made for a heterosexual couple, and sell it to whoever is willing to pay the sales price? I personally wouldn’t have a problem doing that. Should I impose my notion of what religious liberty means on everyone else?


I am a teacher and would like to sometimes do just that. But alas it truly is never okay to do.


It is certainly never proper for a teacher to call a student “stupid”. However, I don’t think it is against the law for the teacher to do so.

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