Friday, March 5, 2010

Wiccan altar in shop class "an opportunity to enlighten"

 A teacher in a Iowa high school was disciplined for refusing to allow a student to build a Wiccan altar in his shop class.  His decision and the schools action have caused somewhat of a stir in the local area and the press.  Into the mix comes a rather thoughtful guest editorial from Kat Fatlandis a student at Drake University in the Des Moines Register:

"If Halferty thinks that learning about any valid religion is "terrible," he is thus prohibiting entire fields of knowledge from being accessed. If one reflects on reasons why anything should not be talked about in school, the only reason Halferty has is fear - and nothing is more degrading to knowledge than fear of it.

What was he afraid of when he prohibited this student from creating this altar? Was he afraid that other students might be interested? Not only is that a biased response from his own Christian faith, it is an ignorant one as well." ...(Cont.)...

Here is more from the original story in the Des Moines Register:

"A high school senior's desire to build a Wiccan altar in shop class has forced a community debate about free expression.

Dale Halferty, who has taught industrial arts at Guthrie Center High School for three years, was placed on paid leave Monday after he acknowledged to district officials that he told the student he could not build the altar in class." ...(Cont)...