A Texas middle school student has taken her frustration over a controversial school assignment concerning the existence of God to the local school board.
The assignment asked students to determine whether given sentences were fact, commonplace assertions, or opinion. The second sentence on the sheet asked students to make this decision over the sentence, “There is a God.”
Seventh-grader Jordan Wooley, a student at West Memorial Junior High School in Katy, Texas, said the assignment made her feel uncomfortable, so she decided to speak before the board of the Katy Independent School District, writes Jennifer Bauer for KPRC. According to Wooley, the assignment caused her to question her faith. Her teacher had told students that if they had written fact or opinion they were wrong, and that God was in fact a myth.
She has also gone to the school principal with her mother to ask for the removal of the assignment from the class syllabus, saying it made her feel like she’d had her religion, or what she believed to be true, taken away from her.
Her mother, Chantel Wooley, said her daughter’s teacher instructed the students to answer by writing that the statement is a commonplace assertion. The teacher then defined the term as a myth.
Commonplace assertions are statements that, although many believe to be true, may not actually be fact.
“Jordan referenced the Bible and she said, ‘That’s not proof,'” Chantel said. “She should never have to stand up and defend her faith to get a good grade,” she added.
Chantel went on to say that if it had been a college assignment, she could have understood, but she feels middle school students are too impressionable for such a paper.
A number of students said they were upset over the assignment, as any student who maintained that God was real faced failing the assignment.
In response to the situation, the district released a statement apologizing for what happened and acknowledging that the school was tolerant of all religious beliefs. The statement added that the assignment was meant to be a critical thinking piece and was not meant to question the beliefs of any students.
Wooley also challenged the school in the past when they decided not to hold a memorial on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Instead, the school had named the day “National Make Your Bed Day.”
Katy, Texas is located in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area and is home to nearly 15,000 residents.