Atheist Teacher Says She Was 'Bullied' By Christian Students, Now Under Investigation For Calling Them 'Cretins'
An atheist schoolteacher is under investigation after she called her students 'cretins' for allegedly bullying her for her beliefs.
Susan Creamer of Merritt Brown Middle School, Florida, may face disciplinary action after sought advice on a Facebook page about how to deal with the 'little cretins' in her class who she said were taunting her over her atheist beliefs, the Daily News reports.
'There is a bevy of boys in one of my classes (middle school) who are taking turns either inviting me to their church or leaving (anonymously) flyers inviting me to church events. Today, I found one on the A/V cart I use for a podium,' Creamer wrote on the Atheists of Bay County Facebook page.
'Every time any child sneezes, they loudly say "God bless you!" and look in my direction.'
She continued: '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.
'I am feeling bullied and harassed. It has become intolerable. I don't feel like talking with the parents will stop the inappropriate behaviours because, for all I know, the parents are encouraging them. Any suggestions?'
Creamer's post on the closed group was screen-shotted by a group member and distributed to the school board.
Spokeswoman for Bay District Schools Karen Tucker said that it was against school policy to criticise students whether in person or online.
The school's policy states that it 'prides itself on providing a safe, protected environment for all students at all times', including interactions on platforms like Facebook.
'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 statement says. '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 said: 'Our students are protected,' indicating that Creamer may now face disciplinary action. 'If that [disparaging remarks about students] happens it violates all kinds of things, [including] the code of ethics from the Department of Education.'
Jeromy Henderson, a member of the Atheists of Bay County page, defended Creamer.
'It is it has turned into a modern-day witchhunt,' Henderson said. 'The group is closed. It was never meant for public consumption. She was just looking for advice from the group on how to deal with students she felt were harassing her. Yes, her terminology was off-putting, but she was just looking for advice about how to deal with them. She'd already been to her principal and was not getting results.'
A parent at the school, Crystal Mosely, wrote a letter to the school's superintendent Bill Husfelt.
'First and foremost she should not be discussing her religious preferences (or lack thereof) with any of these students,' Mosley wrote of Creamer. '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.
'Secondly, as an adult in a professional occupation her choice of words to describe her students is completely unprofessional and completely out of line,' she said. She added she was 'outraged' to see suggestion on social media about how the teacher should handle her children.
The national programme director of American Atheists, Nick Fish, told TheBlaze that it's 'frustrating that the [school] administration hasn't handled this or given support to the teacher'.
'It certainly speaks to the stigma faced by atheists that a teacher can be harassed by students over her religious beliefs, or lack thereof,' he said.