Remember Kearney, NJ? That was where history teacher David Paszkiewicz routinely lectured his students on the fine points of getting into heaven and about which trendy scientific theories were not scientific. I described the basic facts of the case in this post.
The case was remarkable not just because a teacher grossly overstepped his classroom authority, but because the community largely supported him against the student who recorded his classes. Rather remarkable behavior, especially from the blue states. The story was a useful reminder that all those folks who state so casually that the “vast majority” of religious people in America are of the moderate variety have little basis for that assertion.
Anyway, the New York Times reports on the latest development in the case:
After a public school teacher was recorded telling students they belonged in hell if they did not accept Jesus as their savior, the school board has banned taping in class without an instructor’s permission, and has added training for teachers on the legal requirements for separating church and state.
A junior at Kearny High School in New Jersey, Matthew LaClair, 16, complained to his principal after the teacher in his American history class, David Paszkiewicz, told students that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark and that only Christians had a place in heaven. He started recording the comments in September because, he said, he was afraid school officials would not otherwise believe that the teacher had made them. Matthew said he was ridiculed and threatened after his criticism became public.
Right. The problem was not that you had a gibbering lunatic instructing the youth, but rather that he was caught on tape in mid-gibber. And somehow I don’t think the problem with Mr. Paszkiewicz was his ignorance of the niceties of church/state separation.