I'd say that it depends. If the kids asked the teacher/principal what their beliefs were, and they answered but then left it at that, I'd not see a problem with it. If either one was trying to promote their belief (or non-belief) on the children, then I'd have a problem with it.
So, request for information - fine. Preaching - not fine.
Unless the other children talk to you, what good does it do for them talking with their religious parents who will tell them what they already think it's true?
For the sake of your daughter, you should talk to her more detailed about this, because, even though she doesn't believe now, she's still young and she could change her mind just so she wouldn't be different anymore. It is a big possibility and you should make sure to talk to her about this.
You are right to be upset, but since it's the first time something like this has happened, you should let it go, for now. The other kids might pick on her if you do otherwise. Of course, if this sort of thing happens again, you should definitely take action.
I think it's healthy for children to know adults have different answers for this question.
But would you be offended if the point of argument was over Santa Claus?
Teacher says ' yes, Santa is real '
Principal says ' no, Santa is not real '
Teacher says ' yes, monsters live under your bed '
Principal says ' no, monsters do not live under your bed '
Where is the line one should draw between allowing a teacher / principal give an answer and allowing parents the right to control what their kids do or do not believe?
If the teacher/principal and the parents would have the same answer for a question, there would be no line to draw.
You can see that even the teacher and the principal have different answers.
And what can you really do to stop a parent from controling their kids? If you tell your kid that god doesn't exist and that he should think the same from now on (without letting the kid chose for himself), is that not controling as well?
We don't have a moral standard that we all know it's true and we go by it so you can't really tell to all the people to do the same thing. It varies from situation to situation. I know, it sucks...
" If you tell your kid that god doesn't exist and that he should think the same from now on (without letting the kid chose for himself), is that not controling as well?"
IMO , Yes it is! Teach the children how to think, not what to think!
But as Natalee mentioned just below - if it was stated as 'fact' - then yes it is inappropriate.
I think that if the teacher and the principal stated their responses as fact, then it was inappropriate.
What would have been better and more productive is if both the teacher and principal said, "I believe" or "I do not believe". And then allowed the kids to feel and understand that this is not a question of fact. They should have also encouraged a discussion at home by letting the parents know what occurred.
If the question were about homosexuality, I would hope that the educators wouldn't mouth off with biased opinions when impressionable kids are concerned.
In the end, I would keep an open eye and ear with this particular teacher and keep discussing it with your daughter. Keep reassuring her that her believes won't always mesh with others, but that her believes are NOT wrong!
You would really be in a difficult situation if you would have a kid in a school in Romania where religion is a mandatory school subject and you can't really debate religion; the teacher (often a priest) just keeps telling you crap and you have to learn it and, if you're not orthodox, you have to bring your grades from Sunday school or whatever the hell they're doing in other religions.
I really regret that I haven't got the chance to be an atheist in school, so I could do something about it.
Yes you are absolutely right to be upset. As any parent has the right to be upset about these things.
I know plenty of parents that would be upset just because their children were being addressed by some one of a different denomination. If they have that right to be upset you should as well.
This is why there is supposed to be a separation of the church and the state. Even though the principal agreed with your daughter, it was not his place to do so.
It doesn't matter if he is an atheist, these are personal beliefs, period, until science has proven with out a shadow of a doubt there is no god Schools need to remain secular. If you wanted your child to be indoctrinated by someone you would have sent her to a private school or home schooled her right?
I will leave it alone for now, but if it happens again, I will step in. In the mean time, I will teach her what I can. I had put off this discussion because I didn't think she was old enough to handle it, but, if shes arguing with kids over it at school, she apparently can. Now I just need help setting up the plan.
I have only told her that different people believe different things. I told her its ok to believe different, but I want to give her meaningful and useful arguments. A lot of the arguments against religion seem too advanced for a 1st grader. I told her some people believe God created the universe, but also told her that science explains the beginning too (did not go in to theories). I told her that just because science doesn't have an answer to something doesn't mean it never will. I have told her to imagine an invisible man living in the clouds and that makes her bust up laughing.
My son is 6, We home school him, thanks to his grandmother he got the hell scared into him.
His first idea of god was he was a man living in the sky.
He has went on through analysis, and after many long discussions with his father and I and has now decided that God is everyone around him, And it is the love and the care that they give to take care of him that makes him know they are god and love him, because that is gods job, is to take care of US?
My 4 year old daughter was not taught this stuff and you should hear her scream at him "NO HE IS NOT REAL! YOUR JUST CRAZY ZACH!"
I do discuss it with them when they approach me. I am going to order a game on evolution to better help them understand it.
An atheist friend of mine told me about that site.
I hope it will make the process of teaching it to them at the age of 6 a little easier.
I honestly think that the more I try and tell him there is no such thing as god the worse it gets that he wants to argue with me, so I just kind of backed off and said ok. Lets try this another way.
I ask lots of questions making him think really hard. We had the discussion of what Logic and reasoning is. one baby step at a time to undo the firey aspects of hell..
Needless to say the mother in law is never allowed back in my home. That is by her sons orders:)