Shortly after school began in September, the teacher told his sixth-period students at Kearny High School that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven, according to audio recordings made by a student whose family is now considering a lawsuit claiming Mr. Paszkiewicz broke the church-state boundary.
“If you reject his gift of salvation, then you know where you belong,” Mr. Paszkiewicz was recorded saying of Jesus. “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”
The student, Matthew LaClair, said that he felt uncomfortable with Mr. Paszkiewicz’s statements in the first week, and taped eight classes starting Sept. 13 out of fear that officials would not believe the teacher had made the comments.
Since Matthew’s complaint, administrators have said they have taken “corrective action” against Mr. Paszkiewicz, 38, who has taught in the district for 14 years and is also a youth pastor at Kearny Baptist Church. However, they declined to say what the action was, saying it was a personnel matter.
“I think he’s an excellent teacher,” said the school principal, Al Somma. “As far as I know, there have never been any problems in the past.”
If he can't make a distinction between what he teaches at the church and what he teaches in a public school, then perhaps he's not the "excellent" teacher after all.
In a bizarre twist (but hardly surprising), most of Matthew's fellow students and the community have rallied behind Paskiewicz. Some have even called for Matthew to be suspended. He has already received a death threat. If you've followed very many incidents such as this, it is rather de rigueur among certain wacko fundies to want anyone who disagrees with them to... DIE.
What I do find surprising is that the school isn't in Virginia or Alabama... it's in New Jersey, 10 miles west of Manhattan.