Unlawful Religious Discrimination in Louisiana
The response from the ACLU community to our last email has been astounding, and we are so grateful. More than 45,000 compassionate ACLU supporters have signed their name to our petition to the Department of Justice demanding an immediate investigation into unlawful religious discrimination against our son by his school in Louisiana.
We're going to deliver the petition this week to the DOJ, but unless we turn up the public pressure, they may not take action. So we're asking for the full power of tens of thousands of ACLU supporters behind us.
If we can reach 60,000 signatures before we deliver the petition, we think we have a good chance of pushing the DOJ to launch an investigation.
We were shocked when we learned how extreme the religious indoctrination was at Negreet High: school-sponsored prayer at nearly every event, Bible-based study in science class, and Christian iconography all over the school. And through it all, our son, a Buddhist of Thai descent, was mocked by his teachers for his non-conforming faith.
If you believe, as we do, that acceptance, not religious intolerance, should be the foundation of our nation's public schools, please help us win this important fight.
It's not just a fight for our son, but for the right of all students to be free from religious discrimination and indoctrination.
Thank you for your support,
Scott and Sharon Lane, for ACLU Action
Here's our original email from February 5th:
Like any parents, we were deeply concerned when our son C.C. began getting sick to his stomach on the way to school each morning.
At first, we thought he had fallen ill. But we soon found out a far more disturbing truth--that our son, a Buddhist of Thai descent, was afraid to go to school because his teacher was chastising him in front of his peers for his Buddhist faith.
As we dug deeper, we discovered that our son's sixth-grade curriculum at Negreet High included extreme religious indoctrination. The school itself was covered in religious icons. Christian prayer was incorporated into nearly every school event. And our son's teacher routinely preached her biblical beliefs to students and tested the children on their piety with exam questions such as this one: "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
When our son failed to answer religious questions like this correctly (the answer was "LORD"), his teacher mocked him for his beliefs.
No child should be subjected to the type of humiliation that our son has endured. The Department of Justice has the power to end this unlawful religious discrimination at schools in Sabine Parish and set an example for the rest of Louisiana--but we have to make sure they take the case.
Will you sign our urgent petition calling on the Department of Justice to launch an immediate investigation of unlawful religious discrimination at Negreet?
When we brought our concerns to the school superintendent, expecting compassion for our son's treatment, we found none. She informed us that we live in the "Bible Belt" and suggested that we transfer our son to another district school 25 miles away where, she claimed, there were "more Asians."
We did move our son to another school in Sabine Parish, but there, too, school officials regularly promote Christianity and we're concerned our son will again become a target for his faith.
Can you take one minute to sign our petition to the Department of Justice so that religious discrimination in Sabine Parish is put to an end?
Our public schools should be educating and preparing our children for success. But instead of learning basic skills, like science, teachers at Negreet High told students that the Bible is "100 percent true," that the earth was created by God 6,000 years ago and that evolution is a "stupid theory made up by stupid people who don't want to believe in God."
We don't begrudge anyone's right to their Christian faith. But we also don't believe that any child should be subjected to this type of discrimination. And we know that if thousands of ACLU supporters stand with us, we can push the Department of Justice to investigate and bring to an end the religious discrimination and indoctrination that forced our son to leave his school.
Please join us in calling on the Department of Justice to launch an immediate investigation into this unlawful religious discrimination so that no other child has to go through the harassment that our son has endured.
Religious freedom is a pillar of our country's democracy. Forcing your beliefs on another is not freedom; it is oppression.
Thank you for taking action with us
Scott and Sharon Lane, for ACLU Action