Posted by tungtide on July 22, 2008, 2:55 pm
The story of Matthew LaClair is one of disappointment, courage, hope, and despair. Details can be found here (Via Friendly Atheist). In summary, Matthew had an 11th grade history teacher using the classroom as a pulpit for his religious views. Matthew disagreed with the use of a public school classroom for this purpose. He recorded a number of lectures and brought the issue to the attention of the administration. Despite having the law and recordings of the events on his side, there has been a rift in the community. He’s lost friends, and received a death threat.
It’s been two years now, and the town is still divided on the subject. The teacher, Mr. Paszkiewicz is still teaching at the high school (and also runs a local church youth group). On the whole, the town seems to have sided with the teacher’s blatant disregard for the law. An article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazatte News follows up on Matthew’s story (via this post on Atheist Revolution). It appears that no one has really learned a lesson:
“I could have sued, but that wouldn’t have helped,” said Mr. LaClair, who wants to write a book about his experience.
“If I won the case, I’d only get money. There would be no satisfaction because, even to this day, they (school officials) just don’t understand why I made an issue of what happened in those classes.”
Matthew displays a stunning level of maturity in the face of some small-minded individuals.
“I don’t have any problem with what he believes in,” said Mr. LaClair, who spoke yesterday afternoon at the annual summer outing of the Greater Worcester Humanists group. “But I do have a problem about him talking about his religion in a public high school and trying to convert his students.”
I would been unable to do anything along the lines of Matthew when I was his age (ignoring for the moment that I was Christian at that time).
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