Tis the Season?

Another father, who asked to remain anonymous, echoed Benson. He said the same students pick on his daughter: Even though she’s Catholic, they think she should go to their church, he said. The father said his daughter has been bullied since sixth grade and, despite his frequent calls and e-mails to administrators, the abuse continues.

“If they take more action than they currently have, there’s the fear of admission that they were aware of the problem before and did nothing about it,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t know how much the administration is involved or if they do walk through the world with blinders on so they can honestly say, ‘I don’t know.'”

He said he thinks a religious group might be using the school as a way to “have a private school but not have to pay for it.”

In addition to the harassment, he and Benson said the school’s pro-Christian leanings make a hostile environment for non-Christian students. They said students have distributed fliers for religious activities, student presentations often have religious themes and some events used to be held at a nearby church. The school’s auditorium is still under construction.

Roughly 5 percent of Peak to Peak’s middle-schoolers requested to leave the school during the 2002-03 school year, a slightly higher percentage than in other area middle schools, district numbers show. About 1 percent of Louisville Middle School students and 3 percent of Angevine students requested a transfer.

A Louisville mother who is Buddhist called her daughter’s three months at Peak to Peak “a nightmare.” She said the school had obvious fundamental Christian undertones. Parents frequently talked about church, and their children were out of control in class, said the mother, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I think they put so much stress on these little ones that they just snap,” she said.

Judd Golden, chairman of the Boulder County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said he has received complaints from Peak to Peak parents and students for the last three years about religious harassment that’s not taken seriously enough by the administrators.

“We think they’re failing to adhere to religious neutrality,” Golden said. “Students’ religious beliefs are being demeaned.”

He said the repeated complaints led him to the conclusion that there must be tacit support for Christian bullying at the school.

’tis the season, huh?

Hat Tip: Jesus General.