Parent says Chatham County public school teacher bullied daughter for faith

By David N. Bass

Raleigh, NC – A parent in Chatham County is claiming that a local public school teacher “bullied” his daughter for her Christian faith.

Ryne Smith, a parent of an 8th grader, speaks at the September Chatham County School Board meeting at Chatham Groves Elementary School.

The accusation came during a meeting of the Chatham County School Board Sept 12. Ryne Smith says his daughter’s 8th grade class at Bonlee School was instructed to list their three favorite things. When she listed “art, basketball, and the Bible,” her teacher, Wes Lail, told her “God is not real,” according to Smith.

“No child should be bullied. If my daughter hadn’t been as strong as she was in her faith, there is no telling how things would’ve turned out,” Smith told the Chatham Journal newspaper

Smith has now pulled his daughter out of the school and enrolled her in a local private Christian school.

“I don’t see how the board has the audacity to sit and let teachers bully and indoctrinate our kids,” Smith said during the meeting. “You’re taking away their First Amendment right … there is too much going on in the schools that we don’t know about.”

Smith urged the entire board to resign. “One board is destroying Chatham County schools. Your actions show that none of you deserves the position you’re in. The horrendous things going on in our school system is a spectacle and nothing is getting done about it.”

According to comments sent to the Chatham News + Record, a Chatham County Schools public information officer said, “The matter was investigated and addressed according to policy. We remain committed to working with the family if they wish to do so. To date, they have chosen not to work with or meet with school staff to address the matter after removing the child from school.”

Pastor John Amanchukwu

One pastor spoke at the meeting and urged the school board to reject Critical Race Theory and gender identity politics.

“Tonight I’m filled with righteous indignation,” said pastor John Amanchukwu. “To hear that a young girl was demonized because of her faith is a tragedy towards our republic.”

“Critical Race Theory will never solve racism because Critical Race Theory is racism,” Amanchukwu added. “The only way that we can get rid of racism is that the individual, not a group, must come to the realization that they should love their neighbor as themselves. I’m against white supremacy. I’m against black supremacy. But I’m for God’s supremacy.”

Some parents at the meeting spoke in favor of the diversity, equity, and inclusion instruction in the county. “There are unconscious biases. Until I went through a racial equity training five years ago, I wasn’t aware of what was happening,” said Dawn Porter. “It was so enlightening to me. I ask the board to continue with addressing some of these issues.”

Bass is a journalist and communications professional with nearly two decades of experience in the world of PR, marketing, and publications.