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Teacher who told students Obama wasn't a Christian is out. About time.

I have been meaning to post on the Dublin teacher who allegedly told her class President Obama was not a Christian. And neither was anyone who voted for him.

That may count as one of the most inappropriate comments I've ever heard made in a public school classroom, raising the question of whether this teacher was suited for the job.

In addition, when parents wanted to meet with teacher Nancy Perry to discuss her Obama comments, she showed up with her husband Bill Perry who is a school board member – again inappropriate and cause enough for him to step down from his board seat.

He had no right to attend that parent-teacher meeting, and the parents correctly called it an attempt to intimidate them. Bill Perry did not just overstep his elected position; he abused it.

Nancy Perry apparently denied to at least one media outlet she made the comments, although she brought literature supporting her position to her meeting with the parents – again so wrong as to make me wonder why she was in a public school classroom.

I went to Catholic schools. Sometimes, it seems public school students in Georgia hear more about religion than I did in a religious school. No teacher in my 12 years of Catholic schooling ever discussed political candidates or their religions.

I get a lot of emails from parents about religion being force-fed to students in Georgia public schools, from unofficial football team "chaplains" to outright proselytizing in class.

I don't understand it. The rules seem clear. Don't attempt to push your religious views on your students. Don't treat students as possible converts. Keep religion out of the classroom unless it is part of the course content.

Often, when you look at the schools where this occurs, you find under achievement. So here's my suggestion to educators attempting to indoctrinate students: Preach less; teach more.

Here is the latest on the Dublin situation from the AJC’s Ernie Suggs. This is an excerpt. Read the full story here.

A Dublin, Ga., middle school teacher who in March told her students that President Barack Obama isn’t a Christian has been removed from the classroom to pave the way for her retirement at the end of the school year.

Dublin Schools Chuck Ledbetter announced the retirement of Nancy Perry early Tuesday morning, while simultaneously apologizing to students and parents for Perry’s actions. “It is not the place of teachers to attempt to persuade students about religious or political beliefs,” Ledbetter said. “In doing so, the teacher was wrong and that has been communicated to her… Just as importantly, we are communicating this message to all staff of the school district.”

Perry a veteran teacher at Dublin Middle School, told her students that the president is not a Christian — and that anyone who voted for him was not a Christian. Parents protested and the NAACP called for sanctions against Perry.

Repeated calls to Perry have not been returned, but she has told a television station that she did not make the comments attributed to her.

Immediately after parents complained to Nancy Perry about her comments, a meeting was set up to address them. Although Perry has said that she never made the comments, at the meeting, according to the NAACP, she “presented to the parents a packet of several pages from a website that expressed her views on religion and politics. … The parents’ concern was exacerbated by the teacher’s unwillingness to even consider the possibility that her classroom conduct was not conducive to a healthy learning environment.”

Perry was also joined at the meeting by her husband, school board member Bill Perry. Parents saw that as a form of intimidation. Bill Perry is a former radio show host in Dublin, where his Saturday morning show touched on topics like gay marriage and religion.

Ledbetter has ordered all school principals to call his office immediately when a school board member tries to get involved in day-to-day school activities. “An individual board member should not participate in a parent/teacher or parent/principal conference nor should an individual board member in any way attempt to involve himself in a parental concern or a personnel matter at the school level,” Ledbetter said. “Again, this has been communicated directly to the board member by the board of education and made clear to the principals in our schools that this is not to be allowed.”



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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.