By Victor Ochieng
Heather Estes, a Stanton, Kentucky mother, claims that her children are constantly harassed in school because they’re not evangelical Christians like their classmates, adding that the situation got worse after adult school workers joined in the bullying.
Hermant Mehta wrote a piece on The Friendly Atheist blog mentioning that Estes chose to go public after seeing her children experience constant bullying and numerous cases of harassment at the Stanton Elementary School.
Last week Tuesday, Estes decided to share her story with a private Facebook group of atheists. According to Estes, most of the children in the school attend a daily Christian service called The Upper Room before they go in for their lessons. However, Estes’ children don’t attend the service, something that had made many fellow students look at them as outsiders. Her children have as a result been bullied and physically harassed by the Christian students.
When her son approached a teacher about the bullying, the teacher responded by asking him to explain his faith in front of the class.
“You’re going to have to stand up for yourself if you insist on being different,” said the teacher. “Historians agree that the Bible is the most historically accurate book of all time.”
Estes says her children’s beliefs are constantly being questioned.
“My children are asked every day, ‘do you believe in God? Why don’t you go?” Estes told Lexington, KY’s Channel 18. “He’s been told by teachers things like the atheists will be eaten by bears.”
The issue has reached the attention of the School District, but no decisive comment has been made by them.
Powell County Schools Superintendent Michael Take said they’re aware of the complaint and are already looking into the matter to establish its authenticity before anything can be done about it.
But even if Estes’ complaint is found to be true, many are asking how possible it is for the school to change its existing Christian culture, which has become evidently toxic, if the allegations are anything to go by. The fact that this is happening in a public school is over the more worrying.
It’s a good thing that Estes has finally opened up about the issue and we can only hope that the School District will look into it and find an amicable solution.