First, I am an atheist and so is my husband, and our 8 year old son is taught religion in a school since it is mandatory for all students, we didn't object because we thought that we could tell him about the "fallacies" later when he grows up to become a teenager.

But he didn't need us for that and during a class in which the teacher was explaining how "kind" and "merciful" God is, my son raised questions and then making the conclusion that God is not at all merciful, leading the teacher (who is extremely religious) to angrily go over to the seat of my son, grab him by the shoulders and slap him furiously TWICE.

The teacher then accused us of "degrading" his mind and that it is "not normal for such a young boy to naturally behave in such a way, unless he has been taught to do so", when we haven't done nothing. My son has never used a computer so he did not get the ideas from the internet, and he has no friends in the class as he's very introverted and usually extremely quiet. And I do understand that perhaps his words may have been inappropriate, but for the teacher to just abuse him like that is totally unacceptable.

We argued with the teacher since I was very angry, and the principal intervened to let it go and advised us to correctly teach him the Bible and to teach him some "manners as well". This ofcourse came to us as extremely offensive, why should I teach him the Bible? The school is entirely on the teacher's side, and I feel that the teacher will continue to misbehave with my son. And I think we should report him to the police for this. But...would it be right to do so? Are we just really making a big deal out of this? What if the teachers behave rudely or just don't give enough attention to my son after this, should I say something to them?

I must also stress that we cannot take him out from the school since we live and work in a very small town distanced away from the city, and there's only one elementary school here.

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    Can you please clarify where he developed his ideas, if not from his parents or the internet? (Those words are unlikely to be spoken by even a very insightful 8 year old child; unlikely to be repeated verbatim by the teacher, and unlikely to be reported back to you in this manner of dialogue. A bright 8 year old will know approximately 10,000 words.) – anongoodnurse Oct 2 '15 at 4:27
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    I'm confused. Were you in the room with him, or did the school provide a transcript after the fact? But, also - where did this happen? The cultural context is important, and the legal implications would vary from place to place. – jimsug Oct 2 '15 at 5:18
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    If it's at all possible, move. I have a little knowledge of what small town culture is like, which is to say they tend to be extremely homogenous and unforgiving of people who don't fit in. Because it's small, everyone will know you as "the atheists." For your son, it will make him very vulnerable to bullying, and it will be more difficult to make friends. Because of the extremely homogenous culture, it will be extremely difficult to convince other adults of your position, as you saw when the principal did not really support you, as wrong as his actions are. – user14172 Oct 2 '15 at 5:26
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    Without knowing your country (and therefore local laws on corporal punishment in school, etc.), it will be a challenge to get a good answer. Please edit to clarify that. – Acire Oct 2 '15 at 10:26
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    This needs an answer badly - I am a devout Christian, with 15 years as a missionary translating the Bible for minority languages. I wish I could apologize enough to you. What this teacher did is completely not acceptable, and criminal in every country I know of (almost every country in the world has accepted the UN definitions of child abuse and this falls squarely under that). You might give the school one more chance to discipline this teacher and assure you that your child will be treated with respect. But you'd be right to report this to the police right away. – user16557 Oct 2 '15 at 15:49

I'm going to skip over the entire religious part of the question and answer what you should do about the much simpler part:

If a teacher physically assaulted your son over a verbal debate, you should take legal steps. This person is unfit to be a teacher.

You should talk to a lawyer.

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    Agreed; the teacher is unfit to be around children. – anongoodnurse Oct 2 '15 at 5:41
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    I've no idea what jurisdiction the OP is in, but since assault is a criminal offence in lots of countries, it may be better to make a complaint to the police. – ctokelly Oct 2 '15 at 8:20
  • Complaining to the police might also work (There's a good chance this is also what the lawyer will say you should do) – Erik Oct 2 '15 at 8:47
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    The child very likely already does not feel comfortable in school. He was assaulted by a person in authority, who is probably twice his height and vastly stronger, while nobody intervened. I doubt he'll feel safe there from this point on. – Erik Oct 2 '15 at 13:37
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    @Moudiz - agree with Erik. The child is already not comfortable, most likely full of fear and his education is in serious jeopardy, because there is no way this kid is going to trust those in authority at the school, and it seems unlikely they will treat the child with respect if they are not made to see their grievous error. As a Christian myself, I cringe at this. How can anyone who claims to follow Christ, who honored kids and demonstrated the utmost care and kindness towards children, behave like this. Christ will have some words for this person. – user16557 Oct 2 '15 at 16:01

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