Saturday, March 6, 2010

North Carolina: Giving a Bible Is a Hate Crime?

In North Carolina, a Wake County middle-school teacher is in the middle of a controversy because of conflict between her and her students. The coverage of the story seems to join the events a bit on the late side, so it is hard to tell exactly what led up to this.

If seems the teacher is Muslim and has taken offense at some Christian t-shirts some students have worn. She was particularly offended when someone left a Bible on her desk. She called it a "hate crime." I could write a very long post just on the misuse of strong terms such as "hate crime" being applied to acts like this. Was it a pointed act? Yes, I suspect leaving the Bible was intended as a message.

But one has to wonder what exactly the students were responding to. Middle school students are not known for evangelizing to teachers. However, middle- and high-school students ARE known for pushing back when they feel pushed. The class had previously covered a unit on evolution. This teacher is said to have sent students to the office for asking about the role of God in creation.

The movie "The Sound of Music" has become an icon in this country and is shown at least once a year, usually around the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. There is a scene where the Trapp children leave a pine cone on Maria's chair, which she unknowingly sits on. Was that a hate crime?

If a teacher is know to be especially crabby with students, that teacher may be the target of pranks, or at least acts that were called "pranks" when I was growing up. Are those now to be called "hate crimes?"

For that matter, if a teacher sends a student to the office for asking about God's role in creation, could the teacher be accused of a hate crime?

Read the story here:

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