A teacher at West Johnston High School in Benson, North Carolina, issued an apology after shaming a Christian group that posted a Bible verse inside the school.
What are the details?
A student Christian group recently posted a prayer flyer on the school’s scripture wall. The flyer said, “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything,” and cited Philippians 4:6.
According to the Johnston County Report, a teacher — later identified as Brian VanDerlaske — apparently took issue with the flyer and posted a copy of a news article titled, “Parents given jail terms for relying on prayers to save dying daughter.”
He shared a note of his own, which read, “If you are sick you should go to the doctor. This is terrible medical advice. Some people have died/gone to jail because of it.”
In 2018, VanDerlaske won Johnston County Schools’ Teacher of the Year for his program, “Kindness and Gratitude.” According to the outlet, the program “involves his students going out and committing three acts of kindness then finding a way to frame that into a professional presentation.”
What did he say?
Images of the bulletin board later appeared on social media and caused a stir.
After outcry, VanDerlaske issued an apology.
“Because of my personal experience of ignoring cancer symptoms for too long, I made a poor choice to offer unsolicited advice in an inappropriate venue and in the wrong tone,” he admitted in an email to the publication. “It was not my intention to cause distress to any students, staff, parents, or community members. I have been a teacher for over ten years, and I strive to provide a positive learning environment for all of the students in our school. I take full ownership of my mistake, and I will work to be and do better every day.”
Dr. Jim Causby, superintendent of Johnston County Schools, told the outlet that administrators were aware of the controversy.
“My staff and I are aware of this situation. We have copies of the social media posts,” Causby said. “Our Human Resources Department along with the Area Assistant Superintendent are working with the school principal to fully investigate the facts and decide on an appropriate response.”