North Carolina: Muslim 8th-grade teacher says it was a “hate crime” that students left a Bible on her desk
Maybe the students were indeed taunting her by leaving the Bible and the card. Eighth graders can be like that, whatever the religion of the teacher may be. But when the teacher is Muslim, adolescent taunting becomes a “hate crime.”
APEX — A Wake County middle-school teacher may be fired after she and her friends made caustic remarks on a Facebook page about her students, the South and Christianity.Melissa Hussain, an eighth-grade science teacher at West Lake Middle School in southern Wake County, was suspended with pay Friday while investigators review her case, according to Greg Thomas, a Wake schools spokesman. The suspension came after some of Hussain’s students and their parents objected to comments on her Facebook page, many revolving around her interaction with Christian students.
Hussain wrote on the social-networking site that it was a “hate crime” that students anonymously left a Bible on her desk, and she told how she “was able to shame her kids” over the incident. Her Facebook page included comments from friends about “ignorant southern rednecks,” and one commenter suggested Hussain retaliate by bringing a Dale Earnhardt Jr. poster to class with a swastika drawn on the NASCAR driver’s forehead.
“I don’t defend what the kids were doing,” said Murray Inman, a parent of one of Hussain’s students. “I just couldn’t imagine an educator, or a group of educators, engaging in this kind of dialogue about kids.” […]
In Hussain’s case, the comments in question were on the public side of her Facebook page. She has since limited public access.
Parents of children in her class said they learned about the comments last month, leading them to complain to the school three weeks ago.
The picture of Jesus
Parents said the situation escalated after a student put a postcard of Jesus on Hussain’s desk that the teacher threw in the trash. Parents also said Hussain sent to the office students who, during a lesson about evolution, asked about the role of God in creation.
On her Facebook page, Hussain wrote about students spreading rumors that she was a Jesus hater. She complained about her students wearing Jesus T-shirts and singing “Jesus Loves Me.” She objected to students reading the Bible instead of doing her work.
But Annette Balint, whose daughter is in Hussain’s class, said the students have the right to wear those shirts and sing “Jesus Loves Me,” a long-time Sunday School staple. She said the students were reading the Bible during free time in class.
“She doesn’t have to be a professing Christian to be in the classroom,” Balint said. “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”
Hussain, a 2004 Florida State University graduate, has been a Wake teacher since 2006. Her religious affiliation isn’t on her Facebook page.
Gee, what could it be?
‘Merry Christmas’The flash point for the comments came after the Bible was left on Hussain’s desk in December. The Bible was accompanied by an anonymous card, which, according to Hussain, said “‘Merry Christmas’ with Christ underlined and bolded.” She said there was no love shown in giving her the Bible.
“I can’t believe the cruelty and ignorance of people sometimes,” Hussain wrote on her Facebook page.
Hussain also said she wouldn’t let the Bible incident “go unpunished.”…
I wonder what form the punishment might have taken.