We enrolled our son in a private school in September of 2010.  The school held an information meeting for parents and we attended.  My husband and I were approached by a parent who suggested that we attend her church.  My husband, without thinking, told her that we did not believe.  About a week later my son came home from school and told us that he was confronted by the woman's son and a couple other students about his religious beliefs.  He told them that he did not believe in god.  When they asked him why he simply told them that as far as he could tell there was no evidence of him.  They then told him that he should be careful and that he should believe because they did not want anything to happen to him. (These are 5th grade children by the way).  When our son told us about this we then told him to simply stay away from the topic of religion while he was at school.  We told him that this should be forgotten.  Over the next several weeks he was harassed and excluded by the group.  On the last day before the holiday break he was held by the arms while another child hit him with her jingle bells.   We had expressed our concerns to the school at one time and they addressed these issues. However we were pretty sure that since this information about our beliefs was general knowledge we then became concerned for his safety and sanity while at school.  We have since removed him from the school and enrolled him in the local public school.  The private school is not releasing his grades, they are telling the public school that our son did not attend.

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Adriana is absolutely right on this one. The ACLU would LOVE a case like this and would probably want to make it fairly high profile. The Secular Students Alliance, the perfect resource for just this kind of thing, would likely jump all over this as well: http://www.secularstudents.org/


I doubt yours is an isolated incident and as such, is an opportunity for others in similar situations to find the courage to let their stories be heard and addressed. I would understand if you wanted to keep this low profile, but you are probably not alone in your plight. I myself can empathize with your child: when I was 9 years old, my father was transferred to an Air Force Base in Utah. I went to public school there and was harassed by the children on a daily basis, simply because they were Mormon and I was not. The abuse got so bad that, during one recess, the entire class surrounded me and pushed me from one side of their circle to the other, beating me in the process. The couple of friends I had made forced a hole in the "mob" and I was able to break free. I ran all the way home, in the middle of the school day - quite a thing for a 9-year-old kid. While I give all due credit to the teachers who put a stop to it (as best they could) and bear no ill will toward the children - they were children, after all - I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone. Even though we moved back to my home state at the end of that school year, my social skills were severely affected for several years after and I still have a chipped front tooth to remind me of the whole, rotten affair. That your child's bad situation appears to have been reinforced by the faculty is far more troubling.


Good luck and please keep us posted on developments.




Thanks for your story Kev.  That is truly an awful experience.  That is exactly the kind of thing we are trying to avoid.  We try to keep it low profile because the kids can be very hostile and they will, despite the best efforts of adults, find ways to continue harassment.  We live in the south and religion is a hot button topic here and it makes our situation tenuous.  We do not want to make a big deal...we simply want his grades to be submitted to his new school.


Now for the update.  The school contacted me today and the secretary told me she sent everything that was in his file and that his grades were not there.  I told her that he was in the school for four months and how could he have NO grades in his file.  I asked her to please contact his teachers and get his final grades.  She told me that she was running some fund raiser and would not be able to get to this until the end of the week.  So I told her that it would be fine as long as she did do this.  They are stonewalling but they cannot do this for long...it is illegal for them to withhold grades.  I signed the form to have the grades released to the new school and they are supposed to do this.



Thanks so much for your advice Andriana.  My next step is to have an attorney write a letter and then we will see what happens.  The secretary at my son's new school told me that it was a federal law that when grades are requested the school must submit them.  


I will only contact the ACLU if things do not progress, obviously.  However, I do not wish this to become a huge issue.  I am hoping they will not carry on too long.  I do not want to drag my child into a legal battle over his grades.  


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