LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A teacher has been suspended after showing a highly controversial religious film to his class.
Students at Wilbur D. Mills High School said their history teacher, Greg Hendrix, had them watch "The Passion of the Christ."
Students told THV11 they were upset when their teacher pulled up the R-rated movie, which shows the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. The film wasn't the only thing that offended them.
Kristina Coffman showed up to her history class on Tuesday with the main menu of "The Passion of the Christ “on her classroom TV.
“It was weird. He shouldn't have done it because there are a lot of students that have different religions. It just didn't feel right,” Coffman said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas is now investigating the incident after several complaints.
Rita Sklar, executive director of ACLU of Arkansas, said there are kids being bullied now because of what Hendrix talked about in his class.
“It's religious proselytization. It has nothing to do with the class, which is history since 1890,” Sklar said.
The teacher at Mills High School allegedly showed the movie to his students all last week. They were then handed a set of questions to answer about the movie.
The ACLU also received a recording of Hendrix talking in the classroom against political correctness.
“He said that that Liberals and Democrats were trying to violate their first amendment rights,” Sklar said.
ACLU is looking into filing an ethics complaint with the Arkansas State Board of Education.
“Kids having the religious liberty in school means they can express their religious views. It doesn't mean the teacher can,” Sklar said.
Pulaski County Special School District Spokesperson Deborah Roush released the following statement:
The Pulaski County Special School District can confirm there was an incident involving allegations of inappropriate discussion in a classroom by a teacher at Mills University Studies High School that has prompted questions by the ACLU. The teacher involved has been suspended with pay pending an investigation by the district, which is underway at this time. Because this is a personnel issue, the district is limited, legally in what we can say beyond that at this time.
There were about five students, including Coffman who walked out of the class when the movie started. “They were like this doesn't feel right. They just didn't want to be in there,” she said.
The ACLU said they are still getting more complaints from students and parents. They are waiting to see how the district's investigation plays out before taking any other steps.