N.D. Teacher Suspended For ‘Letter From Hell’

A teacher at a North Dakota public school has been disciplined for showing eighth-graders a fundamentalist Christian video.

The Bismarck School Board and Superintendent Paul Johnson issued a letter of reprimand and suspended without pay a Simle Middle School teacher who showed a video called “A Letter From Hell” to his eighth-grade health class in December.

Michael Nider had retrieved the video from the Web site Godtube.com. Parents of one of Nider’s students contacted the principal and the school board to point out the inappropriateness of using class time to promote religion.

The video, according to the Bismarck Tribune, depicts a boy who dies in a drunk driving accident. He writes a letter from Hell to one of his friends asking him why he didn’t share Christ with him.

A school board member apologized to the parents for the video’s airing, and the school principal placed Nider on unpaid leave for violating the school district’s policy on selection of instructional materials. The video was not relevant to Nider’s health class, and he failed to get the principal’s permission to use it.

The Bismarck Tribune’s editorial page lauded the district officials and the school board for its discipline of Nider, saying the video “was in no way a wise choice of teaching material.”