Hussain is an eighth grade science teacher in North Carolina who was getting harrassed by bible-thumping students in her classroom — harrassment that was apparently encouraged by their red-necked ignorant parents. The kids were giving her Bibles and Jesus postcards and reading Bibles instead of doing their classwork, and seemed to have enjoyed flaunting their dumb-ass religiosity at her. So she vented on Facebook. The parents got indignant that she would dare to express her unhappiness with their darling little children, and are pressing to have her fired — but the curious thing is that the only comments they quote all seem reasonable and moderate.
Hussain wrote on the social-networking site that it was a “hate crime” that students anonymously left a Bible on her desk, and she told how she “was able to shame” her students over the incident. Her Facebook page included comments from friends about “ignorant Southern rednecks,” and one commenter suggested Hussain retaliate by bringing a Dale Earnhardt Jr. poster to class with a swastika drawn on the NASCAR driver’s forehead.
Notice that other people are making rude comments about the Bible-thumpers (and I feel the same way), not the teacher. That was the worst they could find? That she rejects religious harrassment and shamed her students to get them to stop doing it?
Here are some more atrocities from her Facebook page.
Parents said the situation escalated after a student put a postcard of Jesus on Hussain’s desk that the teacher threw in the trash. Parents also said Hussain sent to the office students who, during a lesson about evolution, asked about the role of God in creation.
On her Facebook page, Hussain wrote about students spreading rumors that she was a Jesus hater. She complained about her students wearing Jesus T-shirts and singing “Jesus Loves Me.” She objected to students reading the Bible instead of doing class work.
But Annette Balint, whose daughter is in Hussain’s class, said the students have the right to wear those shirts and sing “Jesus Loves Me,” a long-time Sunday School staple. She said the students were reading the Bible during free time in class.
“She doesn’t have to be a professing Christian to be in the classroom,” Balint said. “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”
I think teachers have a right to complain when their students and their students’ parents spread rumors and are disruptive in class. And yes, singing “Jesus Loves Me” during science class is inappropriate, a waste of time, and a transparent attempt to taunt the teacher. I also doubt that there is such a thing as “free time” in a science class: more likely, they’re given time to work as individuals or groups on classwork, and reading their Bible is not getting their work done. Eighth grade science class is not Sunday School, although I guess some retrograde retard might understandably confuse the two.
And of course Hussain is getting no support.
Thomas and Jennifer Lanane, president of the Wake County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said she wasn’t aware of the details of the Hussain case, but said that teachers need to be careful about information they put online.
“We are public figures,” Lanane said. “We are held to a higher standard.”
Quit your jobs, Lananes. You should be ashamed. Stand up for the educators you supposedly represent; I do hold teachers to a higher standard, a standard that involves honesty and integrity and service to their discipline. The Lananes know nothing about this case, but are willing to throw a teacher who struggled with a classroom of militant morons to the wolves. Idiots who confuse “held to a higher standard” with refusing to challenge their students or bowing to community pressure, instead of to being forthright and outspoken, are the peril here.
I support Melissa Hussain. She sounds like a fine teacher who made entirely appropriate responses in a difficult situation, and I want more teachers who are willing to oppose the willful stupidity of communities full of science-hating throwbacks who want to impose Sunday School ‘rigor’ on science education.