Teacher suspended, investigated for allegedly segregating students based on religious values
FOUR OAKS, North Carolina, November 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A first-year Spanish teacher in North Carolina is currently under investigation by education officials for allegedly making her high-school students line up based on their religious beliefs before asking for their views on abortion and LGBT issues.
Parents and students say that on Friday, Julia Lopp of Johnston High School had her students line up based on whether they believed in God and whether they had mental health issues or panic attacks, according to the Johnston County Report. She then allegedly asked whether they supported or opposed abortion, “LGBT rights,” and warned that if word of the exercise ever left the classroom, she would not give the leaking students job or college recommendations.
News of the incident did leak out, however, leading school officials to suspend Lopp with pay while turning the matter over to human resources for investigation.
“This is an unfortunate incident and one I wish had not happened,” Superintendent Dr. Jim Causby said. “It is never appropriate for a teacher to segregate students based on religious, political or personal beliefs. In fact, it is not appropriate for a teacher to even ask a student what their beliefs are. Our school system takes very seriously the rights of students in these areas and students should never be instructed to not share classroom activities with their parents.”
"I don't mind prayer in school and things like that because you pray to your own religion," concerned mother Natasha Chancey told local ABC affiliate WTVD. "But for instance to be asking about God because there are so many different religions and everyone has their own beliefs, that might be saying one is better than the other.”
"It's pretty crazy," said Ethan Johnson, a student who wasn’t in Lopp’s class but has friends who were. "I wouldn't expect nothing like that; it's just weird. I don't even know if teachers are allowed to talk about religion at school because no one at South does."
A petition supporting Lopp has collected more than 370 signatures, with several claiming the incident was some sort of “diversity” exercise that had been blown out of proportion, but without a clear explanation of what she was supposedly trying to do, and no defense of the teacher’s warning not to tell parents or other school officials.
Lopp herself says she has been asked not to publicly comment while the investigation is pending, WRAL reported.
“When the investigation is completed, I will review the findings and determine what final decisions need to be made,” Causby said.