Mildred Rosario was a Bronx junior high teacher who honestly answered the questions of the students in her class. They were despondent over the loss of one of their classmates who drowned the week before. Ms. Rosario had no history of proselytizing and only talked about the subject when an eleven-year-old girl asked whether her friend had gone to heaven.
She said, "I did not talk about my religion. I spoke about God, and I told them that if they did not want to participate, they could use their computers or read books." The Board of Education received one complaint, and that was enough. Instead of reminding her of the statutes or even reprimanding her, they fired her on the spot.
Ironically, the firing took place within the week in June that marked the thirty-fifth anniversary of prayer being removed from the schools by a lawsuit filed by Madalyn Murray OíHair. And perhaps that is the great lesson here. When the Supreme Court banned mandatory prayer in the schools, it sent the unintentional signal that religion and religious discussions were also banned from the schools. Ms. Rosario wasnít trying to turn her classroom into a Sunday School. She was merely responding to a troubled childís question.
Ms. Rosario used that teachable moment to talk about an important topic and provide a compassionate lesson in life. Unfortunately the real lesson the children learned that day was that religion has no place in public schools.
Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.
© 1998 Probe Ministries International