By: Krystle Crossman
A settlement was reached in a case in Louisiana involving a Buddhist student that was constantly harassed due to his faith and the fact that the school ran on strict Christian beliefs. The American Civil Liberties Union was in on the lawsuit, fighting for the rights of the sixth-grader.
In the lawsuit it was said that the school was a public school but they would have prayer time, they would scroll Bible verses on a digital marquee at the front of the school, and they would teach about Christianity. It also stated that one of the teachers that had the student in her class called Buddhism “stupid”.
There is supposed to be a separation of church and state and this lawsuit is trying to protect the students at this school. In the settlement agreement, Negreet High School has a long list of practices that are not allowed in the school any longer such as assigning a reading assignment that comes from a religious text or talking about their personal beliefs in the classroom. Children need to be able to go to school with their own ideas of different religions in mind and if they already have a specific religion that they are affiliated with and not be afraid that someone is going to tell them that they are always wrong or are stupid.
Scott and Sharon Lane had filed the lawsuit against the Sabine Parish School District which is the district that Negreet High is part of. They have three children and they were all teased because of their faith. One teacher in particular was under fire. She stated that the Earth was created by God 6,000 years ago and that evolution was not possible. She stated that everything in the Bible was “100 percent true”. She then belittled the sixth-grader for an answer that he gave on one of her tests. The question was, “Isn’t it amazing what the ______ has made!!!” He did not put down “Lord” like she was looking for and so she chastised him in front of the entire class.
When the Lanes had complained about the practices of the school the most they offered to do was transfer him to another school in Many, LA which is almost a half an hour away from Sabine Parish. Part of the settlement agreement that they reached was to reimburse the parents for the cost of driving their son back and forth to a different school every day and they are also now providing transport for him.