by Nathan Hellweg
The persecution of Christian children in classroom is on the rise. Many families may have experienced this first hand; while others have noticed this is a reoccurring situation and stories are becoming more frequent in the media.
The majority of the persecution cases involve teachers or school administrators – these authority figures are denying children their Constitutional rights and targeting them for their faith in Christ. Very rarely do we see, at the elementary school level, students bullying other students for their beliefs.
For the most part, children enjoy hearing the diverse traditions of other families, especially around the holidays when presented by their fellow classmates. However it has been noted that teachers rarely stop a student from giving a presentation when other non-Christian beliefs are being conveyed.
These are just a few accounts of how Christians are being targeted and persecuted in the American classroom:
Jason Cross, an 8-year-old student at Highview Elementary School enjoyed taking his Bible to school and reading it during his free period.
According to his mother Jessica Cross, the school had told the boy that the book was “only for church, not school”. However, this isn’t the only issue the mother has with Highview Elementary. She claims that her son, who is autistic, has been treated poorly, has been denied lunches, and has been made to stand in timeout for hours. She feels that it is a result of their Christian faith.
Persecution in schools seems to be most prevalent during the holidays – most of which originate around historical Christian events such as the birth of Christ and his resurrection. While the school focuses mainly on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, many of its students will identify seasonal holidays with their Christian beliefs.
A Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary first grade class was given a holiday assignment; they were to give the class a short presentation about their families Christmas traditions. Brynn Williams began hers by informing the class, “Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree,” she continued. “The star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the World.”
Before Brynn could continue the teacher immediately put her presentation to an end by saying, “Stop right there! Go take your seat,” and was not allowed to finish her presentation by reciting John 3:16.
Brynn thought she had done something wrong and was in big trouble.
This has not been the first act of persecution within the district. Last October, a seventh grader was ridiculed by a teacher for reading the Bible. The classroom assignment was read a non-fiction book. The teacher told the student, in front of the class, that the Bible was fictitious and refused to give credit for the assignment.
These are not isolated incidents and are evidence that radical secularist adults are bullying Christian children in the classroom; while not one student was mentioned taking offense by their fellow classmate’s religious beliefs – Perhaps we should follow our children’s position and views on acceptance?
Today, Christian children are being targeted by secularists in the schools; their persecution ranging from being ridiculed about faith, silenced for discussing the Birth of Christ during a Christmas presentation, or even suggesting that the Bible is fiction, while publically embarrassing the student in front of the entire class.
When we encounter these situations, as parents, it is important to remember what Jesus teaches us in Mathew 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
As winter will soon draw to an end, we look forward to celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. However it is expected that more children will face religious persecution in the classroom this spring – while colorful eggs and Easter bunnies adorn the room, their faith in Christ and his sacrifice on the cross may not be so welcomed.
We should make it very clear to our children, the young Christians with troubling times ahead, that they did nothing wrong, that they are brave Christians strong in their faith. They should be proud that they stood for their beliefs; they are now even stronger in God’s love. As we read in James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”