Creationist teacher calls Buddhist Thai American student’s faith “stupid”

March 17, 2014
Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb
Sabine Parish Superintendent Sara Ebarb

This is why we need to protect the separation between church and state, and keep religion out of public schools.

The ACLU took a Louisiana school to court earlier this year after Negreet High school science teacher, Rita Roark, repeatedly denigrated the religious faith of a Buddhist student of Thai descent, calling both Buddhism and Hinduism “stupid”. One incident occurred after the student — identified as C.C. in the lawsuit — refused to answer Ms. Roark’s test question: “ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

According to Ms. Roark, the right answer was “Lord”, and she requires all her students to answer “correctly” for test credit. She marked the question incorrect and publicly shamed C.C. when he first failed to answer the question, and then when he attempted to answer the question with “Lord Boda [sic]” —  a reference to his Buddhist faith — when it appeared on a second exam.

In both incidents, Ms. Roark proclaimed it “stupid” to not fill in a reference to the Christian God, and encouraged her students to also verbally humiliate C.C. for not doing so.


Ms. Roark’s inappropriate behaviour wasn’t limited to anti-Asian denigration of a single student. Ms. Roark — whom I must remind you was the sixth-grade science teacher at this Louisiana school — routinely used her science class as a platform to instill the Christian faith. According to the lawsuit:

Defendant Rita Roark regularly asks her sixth-grade students for professions of Christian faith in science class and teaches the Bible as scientific fact, claiming that the Big Bang never happened and that evolution is a “stupid” theory that “stupid people made up because they don’t want to believe in God.” Paintings of Jesus Christ, Bible verses, and devotional affirmations adorn the walls of classrooms and hallways. A lighted electronic marquee placed just outside the building scrolls Bible verses every day. And staff members routinely lead students in Christian prayer.

Later in the lawsuit, it is revealed that Ms. Roark expects her students to either quote scripture or proclaim that the Lord is amazing at the bottom of each of her science exams in order to receive extra credit. In a social sciences class that Ms. Roark also teachers, she presents Biblical stories as “100% true”.

C.C.’s parents reportedly complained to Sabine Parish superintendent Sara Ebarb, who defended Ms. Roark. Superintendent Ebarb told C.C.’s parents that “this is the Bible Belt” where proselytizing on behalf of a Christian God should be expected in the classroom, and then subsequently asked whether C.C. could change his faith to better suit the will of his science teacher.

Ebarb went on to profess her tolerance for the Buddhist faith by saying: “the lady who cuts my toenails has a statue of Buddha” and that she doesn’t find that offensive.

Ebarb concluded the meeting by suggesting that C.C. transfer to a high school 25 miles away where “there are more Asians”, although she offered no school bus transportation for pursuit of this solution. The next day, Ebarb wrote an email to the Negreet High School principal Gene Wright, praising his defense of Roark’s religious beliefs.

Thankfully, Judge Elizabeth Foote agreed with the clear and obvious violation of religious freedom being practiced at Negreet High School, and ruled this week to halt all further mandated religious activities at the school. In addition to other rulings, teachers are now prohibited from their classrooms to proselytize, or from denigrating students based on their religious faith.

Finally, all school board members and current faculty are required to attend an ACLU-approved training session about the First Amendment.

But, really, the system is clearly broken if this kind of behaviour was allowed to persist in a public school in the first place. Next time a Creationist tells you they are trying to “teach the debate”, remember that this rarely actually happens in the classroom.

Too often, Creationism is as intolerant of religious faith as they claim science to be.

  • Yun Xu

    oh look, it’s “diversity” at work LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • the other Byron

    ACLU: The true defenders of religious freedom in America. Ironic considering how much they are hated by religious right.

  • It makes me giggle how now you’ve decided to call yourself “the other Byron”.

  • the other Byron

    Yeah I didn’t wanna cause confusion 🙂 Just hope a 3rd Byron doesn’t start posting on your site or I’ll be really flummoxed.

Comment Policy

Before posting, please review the following guidelines:

  • No ad hominem attacks: A person's identity, personal history, or background is not up for debate. Talk about ideas, not people.
  • Be courteous: Respect everyone else in this space.
  • Present evidence: This space endeavours to encourage academic and rational debate around identity politics. Do your best to build an argument backed not just with your own ideas, but also with science.
  • Don't be pedantic: Listen to those debating you not just for places to attack, but also where you might learn and even change your own opinion. Repeatedly arguing the same point irrespective of presented counterfacts will now be considered a violation of this site's comment policy.
  • Respect the humanity of all groups: To elevate the quality of debate, this site will no longer tolerate (racial, cultural, gender, etc.) supremacist or inferiority lines of argumentation. There are other places on the internet where nationalist arguments can be expressed; this blog is not those places.
  • Don't be an asshole: If you think your behaviour would get you punched in the face outside of the internets, don't say it on the internets.
  • Don't abuse Disqus features: Don't upvote your own comments. Don't flag other people's comments without reasonable cause. Basically, don't try to game the system. You are not being slick.

Is your comment not approved, unpublished, or deleted? Here are some common reasons why:

  • Did you sign in? You are required to register an account with Disqus or one of your social media accounts in order to comment.
  • Did your comment get caught in the spam filter? Disqus is set to automatically detect and filter out spam comments. Sometimes, its algorithm gets over-zealous, particularly if you post multiple comments in rapid succession, if your comment contains keywords often associated with spam, and/or if your comment contains multiple links. If your comment has been erroneously caught in the spam filter, contact me and I will retrieve it.
  • Did a comment get flagged? Comments will be default be published but flagged comments will be temporarily removed from view until they are reviewed by me.
  • Did you not play nice? You may have gotten banned and a bunch of your comments may have been therefore deleted. Sorry.

I monitor all comment threads, and try to address comments requiring moderation within 24-48 hours. Comments that violate this comment policy may receive a warning and removal of offensive content; overt or repeat violations are subject to deletion and/or banning of comment authors without warning.

I reserve final decision over how this comment policy will be enforced.


Play nice and don't be a jerk, and you'll do just fine.