What’s the matter with Kearny?

November 14, 2006

Maybe you thought New Jersey was free of the problems other states have with creationists trying to turn public schools into platforms for proselytizing?

Think again. Turns out the Hudson County burg of Kearny has its own problem with a fundie who styles himself as a history teacher:

Among his remarks in open class were statements that a being must have created the universe, that the Christian Bible is the word of God, and that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark. If you do not accept Jesus, he flatly proclaimed to his class, “you belong in hell.” Referring to a Muslim student who had been mentioned by name, he lamented what he saw as her inevitable fate should she not convert. In an attempt to promote biblical creationism, he also dismissed evolution and the Big Bang as non-scientific, arguing by contrast that the Bible is supported by what he calls confirmed biblical prophecies.

After taking the matter to the school administration, one of [David] Paszkiewicz’s students, junior Matthew LaClair, requested a meeting with the teacher and the school principal. LaClair, a non-Christian, was requesting an apology and correction of false and anti-scientific statements. After two weeks, a meeting took place in the principal’s office, wherein Paszkiewicz denied making many of these comments, claiming that LaClair had taken his remarks out of context. Paszkiewicz specifically denied using the phrase, “you belong in hell.” He also asserted that he did nothing different in this class than he has been doing in fifteen years of teaching.

At the end of the meeting, LaClair revealed that he had recorded the remarks, and presented the principal with two compact discs. The teacher then declined to comment further without his union representative. However, he fired one last shot at the student, saying, “You got the big fish . . . you got the big Christian guy who is a teacher . . .!”

“Big fish” indeed. The only thing big about this kind of intellectual minnow is his pretension to martyrdom.

I have yet to see this covered in any of the local prints, so I guess we’ll have to keep monitoring Pharyngula and The Lippard Blog, where I found this tidbit.


One Response to “What’s the matter with Kearny?”

  1. Rix Says:

    Kearny had the only two Hudson County districts carried by Kean Jr. Resident WFMU neocom X-Ray Burns,a nominal Presbyterian, lives in Kearny, but even he would scoff at the teacher’s claims; his reaction probably would have been to fling sharpened pencils at Paszkiewic’s ass.

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