On Ash Wednesday, Feb. 21, a Catholic female student at White County High School in Cleveland, Georgia, had her ashes wiped off her forehead by a substitute teacher. When the girl’s classmates protested, the teacher verbally attacked the girl making untrue and derisive statements about Catholicism.
Donohue had first written to Paul Shaw, superintendent of the White County Board of Education, on March 5, wanting to know what disciplinary measures would be taken against the teacher.
Shaw replied that the principal resolved the matter. “The employee made an honest error in judgment,” he said in the substitute teacher’s defense, “and has been appropriately counseled and cautioned and I believe a similar incident will not be repeated.”
The teacher has since been dismissed from the high school, but for reasons wholly unrelated.
Donohue said he is not writing to the state superintendent of schools now regarding the teacher but regarding Shaw.
“For him to say that a teacher in his employ made ‘an honest error in judgment’ by wiping ashes off the forehead of a Catholic student on Ash Wednesday — and then berated her in front of her classmates — is beyond lame. It’s morally reprehensible,” Donohue said in a statement.
Donohue said his letter will be citing Georgia’s Code of Ethics for Educators and its section on Abuse of Students, which includes harassing behavior on the basis of religion.
.- Catholic League President Bill Donohue is writing to Georgia’s State Superintendent of Schools, asking her to investigate a matter related to a substitute teacher who harassed a high school student for demonstrating a symbol of faith.