A brave seventh grader from Texas appeared before a school board meeting on Monday night to report that a teacher gave them an assignment in which they were forced to say that God was not real or face a failing grade.
EAG News is reporting on the story of Jordan Wooley, a seventh-grader at West Memorial Junior High School in the Katy Independent School District who bravely took to the podium to explain what happened in her reading class.
“Today I was given an assignment in school that questioned my faith and told me that God was not real. Our teacher had started off saying that the assignment had been giving problems all day. We were asked to take a poll to say whether God is fact, opinion or a myth and she told anyone who said fact or opinion was wrong and God was only a myth,” Wooley told board members.
Wooley said students immediately objected but the teacher refused to consider their position.
The teacher, “started telling kids they were completely wrong and that when kids argued we were told we would get in trouble. When I tried to argue, she told me to prove it, and I tried to reference things such as the Bible and stories I have read before from people who have died and went to heaven but came back and told their stories, and she told me both were just things people were doing to get attention,” she said.
“I know it wasn’t just me who was affected by it. My friend, she went home and started crying. She was supposed to come with me but she didn’t know if she could” because she was so upset, Wooley said.
Some of Wooley’s classmates, who wrote that they believed God was real, did indeed receive a poor grade.
“Another student asked the teacher if we could put what we believe in the paper, and she said we could … but you would fail the paper if you do,” Wooley told the board. “I had known before that our schools aren’t really supposed to teach us much about religion or question religion. When I asked my teacher about it she said it doesn’t have anything to do with religion because the problem is just saying there is no God.”
As soon as she got the chance, Wooley texted her mother, Chantel Wooley, to tell her what happened.
“Hey mom so in reading we were required to say that God is just a myth,” Jordan texted her mother shortly before 3 p.m. Monday. “I thought if a question was against our religion that we could put what we think is true but we got in trouble for saying He is true.”
“Wait what? Myth?” Chantel Wooley replied.
“We had to deny God is real. Yeah, we had to say he was just a myth,” Jordan wrote.
“You got in trouble?” Chantel questioned.
“Yeah she told me I was wrong bc I put it was fact,” Jordan wrote.
Wooley’s family immediately contacted the school principal who promised to speak with the teacher and investigate the incident. School board members also vowed to “look into it” when Jordan testified on Monday night.
Since that time, the Katy Independent School District issued the following statement to ABC News:
“Yesterday, October 26, at the end of the school day, two West Memorial Junior High parents contacted the school’s principal to share their concern over a classroom activity that they felt questioned students’ religious beliefs. The school principal immediately responded to the parents by informing them that she would investigate and meet with the teacher the following morning. At the conclusion of the investigation today, the principal determined that the classroom activity included an item that was unnecessary for achieving the instructional standard. The activity, which was intended to encourage critical thinking skills and dialogue by engaging students in an exercise wherein they identified statements as fact, opinion, or common assertion was not intended to question or challenge any student’s religious beliefs as reported by some media outlets,” the statement reads.
“The teacher is distraught by this incident, as some commentary has gone as far as to vilify her without knowing her, her Christian faith, or the context of the classroom activity. Still, this does not excuse the fact that this ungraded activity was ill-conceived and because of that, its intent had been misconstrued. As a result, the activity will no longer be used by the school, and appropriate personnel action will be taken. The school regrets any misconceptions that may have resulted from this teacher-developed classroom activity and assures its school community that the religious beliefs of all students and staff are welcomed and valued at Memorial Junior High.”
Jordan Wooley is being hailed as a hero around the nation for confronting the school and putting an end to a highly inappropriate assignment that might have left many more children upset if not for her courageous action.