I’ve been in a rotten mood the last few days and reading this post over at PZ Myer’s has not changed my disposition. It appears that a teacher by the name of Richard Mullens of Brookeland, Texas was suspended after a parent accused him of being an atheist.
On January 15th, there was a board meeting. Nothing was on the agenda concerning me. During the open forum, several audience members spoke to their concerns that I was an atheist and I was too liberal. On January 16th, I was called to Mr. Richard Turner’s office (my principal), and he informed me that I had been put on administrative leave with pay. The reasons, as stated to me by Mr. Turner at the time, were that I was accused of being an atheist and teaching atheism in the classroom, and I was too liberal.
To top matters off, the school board didn’t even inform Mullens of any complaints nor did they offer him a chance to respond to the allegations. The parents showed up, made a complaint and he was suspended the next day (from a write up in the the Beaumont Enterprise):
Board members took no official action that evening, but Mullens was placed on administrative leave the next day pending an investigation, he said.
According to a letter dated Jan. 28 originally faxed to Brookeland ISD and later faxed to The Enterprise by Mullens, the school district at no time informed Mullens of specific allegations or requested a statement from him in response to allegations.
The article also makes note that there hadn’t been any complaints prior to these parents showing up at the board meeting. It also quotes a student at the school as stating that certain people in the community were upset that Mullens openly supported Obama.
Nicole Ard, a senior at the high school, has been a student of Mullens’ for five years. Ard, who is senior class president, said discussion often got heated, “but they were just debates.”
“Mostly people were upset because he supported Barack Obama, whereas a lot of people in Brookeland were against (Obama),” said Ard, 18.
So, it’s quite possible I suppose that his suspected atheism was merely a convenient excuse as it’s a bit more socially acceptable to attack atheists than to fire someone for not being a racist.
Either way, the situation sucks all around.