An atheist teacher is under investigation by a Florida public school district after calling students “cretins” – meaning stupid persons – for inviting her to church.
Susan Creamer, a Merritt Brown Middle School teacher in Panama City, Florida, berated her students on a Facebook page designated for local atheists, where she claimed that the middle schoolers teased and harassed her by inviting her to go to church with them.
Wrong move …
School policy states that teachers are not permitted to criticize students in person or via an Internet page, according to Bay District Schools Spokesperson Karen Tucker.
She maintains that even though the disparaging remarks were posted to be read by a closed Facebook group, Creamer was still in violation because a member of the group took a screen shot of her post and redistributed it.
"I don't think it matters, because eventually someone else is going to see it posted, which is what happened,” Tucker explained, according to The Walton Sun. “People were re-posting. If you said things on there – which she did, about students – no, I don't think it matters."
Offended by the Gospel
Creamer explained on the “Atheists of Bay County” private Facebook page that the students who went out of their way to invite her to church tried to get her to go in various ways.
"There is a bevy of boys in one of my classes who are taking turns either inviting me to their church or leaving (anonymously) flyers inviting me to church events," Creamer wrote on the Facebook page, according to The Christian Post. "Today, I found one on the A/V cart I use for a podium."
The atheist teacher went as far as to report students to the principal for blessing each other when they sneeze in class.
"Every time any child sneezes, they loudly say 'God bless you!' and look in my direction,” Creamer complained. “I have complained twice to my principal – one last month and once today. She has spoken privately to one or two of the little cretins, but it seems to do NO GOOD.”
The atheist instructor indicated that she felt tormented by the students – who cared enough about her to reach out to her.
“I am feeling bullied and harassed … It has become intolerable,” Creamer told her fellow atheists on the social media page. “I don't feel like talking with the parents will stop the inappropriate behaviors because, for all I know, the parents are encouraging them."
Out of bounds …
School district officials made it clear that Creamer was out-of-line and acted unprofessionally by posting such offensive comments about her students online.
"Teachers are encouraged and trained, to keep clear boundaries between their personal and professional lives to ensure that the classroom remains a neutral and supportive environment," the school district announced in a public statement. "This training and related School Board policy includes guidelines for interactions on all social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook. We do not condone the use of disparaging comments about our students in any form, on any social media platform, or in any school."
Tucker asserted that remarks attacking students will simply not be tolerated by the school district.
"Our students are protected," she maintained. "If that happens, it violates all kinds of things, (including) the code of ethics from the Department of Education."
Three strikes pointed out against the teacher …
Appalled by Creamer’s offensive actions, one parent sent a complaint to the school, calling the atheist teacher out on three separate counts.
"First and foremost, she should not be discussing her religious preferences – or lack thereof – with any of these students,” the concerned parent insisted to school officials. “Had she not been proudly boasting of her atheism, these children would not know of her personal beliefs, and I would not be addressing this situation.”
The parent also noted how the middle school teacher’s comments directed against the students were inappropriate and inexcusable.
“Secondly, as an adult in a professional occupation, her choice of words to describe her students is completely unprofessional and completely out of line,” the perturbed parent continued.
One last argument was then waged against Creamer.
“Third, for her to seek out suggestions from a group on social media of how to handle her students (my children) has me outraged," the complaint concluded.