Here’s a story I bet is far more common than gets reported. A high school history teacher in New Jersey, David Paszkiewicz, has been using his position to proselytize students for Christianity. It’s not a coincidence that he is also a Baptist minister. But this time, a student has been taping the class and has proof.
On Sept. 14 — the fourth day of class — Paszkiewicz is on tape saying, “He (God) did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sin on his own body, suffered your pains for you and he’s saying, ‘Please accept me, believe me.’”
He adds, according to the tapes: “If you reject that, you belong in hell. The outcome is your prerogative. But the way I see it, God himself sent his only son to die for David Paszkiewicz on that cross … And if you reject that, then it really is to hell with you.”
This is obviously completely inappropriate for a public school history class. And he went beyond that, pushing his religious views on other courses he does not teach:
Paszkiewicz didn’t limit his religious observations to personal salvation, according to the tapes.
Paszkiewicz shot down the theories of evolution and the “Big Bang” in favor of creationism. He also told his class that dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark, LaClair said.
And naturally, being the good Christian that he is, he lied about it until he found out he’d been taped:
On Oct. 10 — a month after he first requested a meeting with the principal — LaClair met with Paszkiewicz, Somma and the head of the social studies department.
At first, Paszkiewicz denied he mixed in religion with his history lesson, and the adults in the room appeared to be buying it, LaClair said. But then he reached into his backpack and produced the CDs.
But he was lying for Jesus, so I guess that makes it okay. And LaClair is absolutely right when he says:
LaClair, who described his own religious views as “non-Christian,” said he wanted to complain about Paszkiewicz to school administrators, but feared his teacher would deny the charges and that no one would take a student’s word against a teacher’s.
So, he said, he started taping Paszkiewicz.
“I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school,” LaClair said yesterday. “If I didn’t have those CDs, everything would have been dismissed.”
I suspect this sort of thing goes on all the time in some schools and the only reason it’s not caught is that no one complains about it, or those that do are dismissed. But with modern technology, it’s getting much easier to tape things and prove the charge. This teacher needs to be disciplined.
Update: It should be noted, though I wasn’t aware of it when I posted initially, that this story was broken in the blogosphere by Jim Lippard. The newspapers actually got the story from his post and other agitation from skeptics.