Palomenė (R a y o n of Kaišiadorys)
To: The Religious Affairs Commissioner A Statemen from: Rev. Jonas Zubrus, residing in the Rayon of Kaišiadorys, Palomenė.
Like last year, students in grades five through eight at th< Palomenė Primary School were ordered by their homeroom teacher in October 1978 to fill out questionnaires on their religious beliefs The behavior of some teachers is contrary to both ethics and justice
After writing the question on the blackboard, fifth-grade homeroom teacher Ona Renkevičaitė began to explain to the students how they should answer. All students must write that they don't believe; to the question "Why don't you believe" they should write: "Because science has proven there is no God"; to the question "Do you attend church of your own will or at the behest of your parents" write "At the behest of my parents." Those who, despite the order to lie, had the courage to write as dictated by their conscience that they believe, were told by teacher Renkevičaitė: "Talk your mothers out of forcing you to attend church because the school requires that you not believe and not attend church."
Sixth-grade homeroom teacher Julija Pilkienė gave her students similar instructions. Students who did not know how to reply to the question "What atheist books have you read", were told to write Už vienuolyno sienų (Beyond Convent Walls) and Nenoriu dangaus (I Don't Want Heaven). When the students explained they had not read these books and could not answer if someone were to ask what was written in them, the homeroom teacher assured them: "No one will ask you." Some of the students did not reply to the question "Do you believe." They and student Vidas Žižliaus-kas who wrote "I believe" were ordered by the teacher to recopy everything from the beginning and write "I don't believe." She was particularly vehement against student Janonis who wrote "I believe" and who answered the question "Why do you believe?" with "Science has proven that God exists."
From this we can see that such behavior by teachers is not only poor pedagogy (at other times they preach truthfulness and sincerity, but negate it all by their actions), but also violates the individual and the law. It is an offense against students by violating their consciences; it is an offense against their parents by trampling what they instill in their children; it is an offense against society by teaching the young generation to be hypocritical, to be conformists, to follow the dictate of need and career over that of conscience. Finally such behavior by teachers violates the LSSR Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Helsinki Final Act.
Rev. J. Zubrus
November 18, 1978.
Josvainiai (R a y o n of Kėdainiai)
On September 28, 1978, the chairman of the People's Board at the Josvainiai Middle School, teacher Apolonija Jurevičienė, ordered fourth-year students Dalia Viptrikaitė, L. Valaitytė and Lijana Šilkaitytė to stay after school. Teacher Jurevičienė scolded and ridiculed them so extensively that the girls shook like leaves and then ordered them to bring their mothers because they attend church and sing in the choir. Teacher Elena Dovydienė also intimidated students Daiva Salagubaitė, Roma Bernatavičiū-tė and Rasa Urbelytė. Grade 4a homeroom teacher Kaminskienė threatened to give much lower deportment grades to students Daiva Vasiliutė and Genutė Brigytė for believing and singing in the church choir.
The mothers who were summoned explained that they go to church and want their children to grow up religious. The mother of Šilkaitytė who works at the Josvainiai district office and the mother of Valaitytė who is employed at the Josvainiai Cultural Center were threatened with dismissal from work if they continue to allow their daughters to attend church.
Teacher Valaitienė scolded and warned the mothers about "ruining" their children. If they want their children to continue attending school, they must renounce the Church. The following students were also warned: Aušra and Jūratė Maziliauskaitė, Rasa Banderdorfaitė, Dalia and Aušra Vinntrikaitė.
On October 17, 1978, teacher (Mrs.) Lipnickienė of the Fifth Middle School in Šiauliai ordered a group of her grade la students to stand in the corner by the wastebasket because they came to school without their "Little Octobrist" pins. Teachers usually enroll all first-grade students into the Little Octobrists without asking either their or their parents' permission. This is a typical example of Soviet education. In Lithuania, not a single official student organization has a Lithuanian pin.
In June 1978 Mr. Mockevičius died in a tragic accident. His children were left orphans. Barely two months after the funeral, (Mrs) Mockevičienė who is employed as a nurse in the children's ward of the Telšiai hospital was threatened by ward director Tsir-kova that she would lose her mother's rights if her children continue to be allowed to serve at Holy Mass. And Head Nurse Kru-pova threatened to telephone the Kaunas Medical Institute to have the dormitory privileges of her son who is studying there withdrawn. In October, (Mrs.) Mockevičienė was again summoned to see hospital chief-of-staff Janulis to justify herself. The Mockevičius children who attend the Žemaitė Middle School were given lower deportment grades. "We simply cannot give exemplary deportment grades to students who attend church," stated the school's Principal Rūkas. Although atheists greatly boast of their humanity, they have no qualms whatsoever in exploiting even the greatest misfortune of man—death—to force a renunciation the faith.
The funeral of Grade 3c student Kibelkyte of the Fifth Middle School in TelSiai was held on September 18, 1978. Homeroom teacher Moščinskiene told the parents: "If you give her a church burial, we won't allow a single pupil to attend the funeral."
On October 6, 1978, Principal Adomaitienė of the Fourth Middle School in Telšiai summoned eighth-grade student Alina Stonkut6 and began to interrogate her: "Why haven't you joined the Communist Youth? Why do you keep others from joining? Why do you come to school wearing the Eucharistic Society pin?" (In Telšiai students are forbidden to wear the pins depicting a wayside shrine which are manufactured by Soviet industry and openly sold at booths for 17 kopecks.) At the conclusion of the discussion, the principal stated: "All this must remain just between the two of us, for otherwise that priest will again publicize it in his sermon."
Several days later, homeroom teacher .(Mrs.) Staniene kept (Miss) A. Stonkute and other students who did not join the Communist Youth after school and ordered them to justify in writing why they do not join . . . Stonkutė wrote: "I do not join because Communist Youths are not allowed to go to church." The following day, homeroom teacher Staniene ridiculed this explanation in front of the entire class.
When she graduated from middle school, Alina's sister, Genutė Stonkutė, was not given a letter of recommendation which is required for entrance into another school for an entire month. She was told to go ask the pastor for references. When she finally did receive the letter of reference, the principal had verified in writing that the student had categorically refused to join the Communist Youth League.
Since the very beginning of 1978, choir members and the parents and acquaintances of altar boys and children who kept vigil at the Blessed Sacrament have continually been summoned to the TelSiai security police (KGB). Even teenagers who are schoolmates or friends of believing students are summoned for interrogation. They are usually questioned by Security Chief Laskutov. Even non-believing students and Communist Youth members were often summoned to the security police for this same reason. At first, security agents come to the school. The next time, they summon the teenager to the agent on duty at the militia or to some other militia office. The usual questions: "Are you a believer? Do you know any believers? Do you attend church?" The security agents even agree that one may go to church, but in church one must keep an eye out for certain things. Young people are thus given the task of following those who attend church and reporting conversations with them, relating every little detail. Security agents are very interested in what books believing students read and where they obtain them. With this in mind, tenth-grade students Romas Perminąs, Ignotas Vygantas, Augaitis and Sigitas Kotilius from the Middle School No. 4 were summoned many times to the security police, as were Middle School No. 5 students Činskis and Daugelis, and Pe-teikis and Šileikis, who work in industry, and many others.
In Telšiai, believers are kept under survellance like dangerous state criminals.
Gargždai (R a y o n of Klaipėda)
Grade 2c teacher (Mrs.) Papievienė of the Gargždai Middle School persecutes students who attend church and serve at Holy Mass. Upon learning that students Linas Vainius, Remigijus and Nerijus Zekis and Kuprelis serve at Holy Mass, she mocked them harshly: "Why do you go to that church, there is no God there. ( . . .) Churchmice salivate on the cross and then you kiss it. I repeat, there ir no God, Lenin took care of everything." Dumbraitė was berated for keeping vigil at the Blessed Sacrament. She was threatened with receiving a failing deportment grade.
Digressing from the subject being tought, grade 4b teacher (Mrs.) Platušienė ordered the students who serve at Holy Mass to stand up. Saulius Norvilas and Saulius Benaitis stood up. The teacher began to ridicule them, but the students had already become inured to constant threats and no longer became upset: "Let them lower our deportment grades, but we won't renounce the church."
On December 22, 1978, ninth-grade homeroom teacher Radžiu-vienė of the Kretinga Second Middle School began to tell her homeroom: "The Constitution guarantees every citizen the freedom of conscience; you may believe, you may not believe. Now, will those of you who believe in God honestly confess and raise your hands." Most students raised their hands. "Now those who do not believe,-raise your hands." Out of 40 students in class, not a single hand went up. The teacher became angry: "You, Alma, are the secretary of the Communist Youth League, and you, Danguolė, her assistant, do you also believe in God?"
"Teacher, you've just said that the Constitution guarantees freelom of conscience."
"But you are a member of the Communist Youth!"
"What could we do, your forced us," the students explained. Finally, the teacher lost her self-control: "Then I cannot work with such students."
Eighth-grade student Antanas Puškorius of the Second Middle School is constantly berated by homeroom teacher Raguckas: "Because of you, I've made the chronicles . . .and Vatican Radio talked about me."
Vytautas Šimkus, a student at that some school, was told by his teachers that because he serves in church he won't be permitted to graduate from middle school. When he completes all the grades, he will be diverted to a trade school. The teachers also told the student's mother the same thing.
On November 20, 1978, teacher Vytautas Kusas of the Palanga Middle School noticed a cross hanging on a chain around the neck of grade 4b student Valdas Sudintas, tore it off in the presence of all the students and ordered him to take it to his homeroom teacher. Valdas' mother, a believer, wrote a letter of complaint to the Palanga Executive Committee and the Education Ministry.
During a funeral at the church held on November 10, 1978, two teachers—Grikštienė of the Raseiniai Middle School and Žirnienė of the Tytuvėnai Agricultural Trade School—chased from the church believing students who were forced in the street until the services ended. Who gave the teachers the right to do as they please in church?
At about 9:00 P.M. on the evening of November 10, 1978, unknown godless individuals shattered the statue of the Virgin Mary which stood in a niche on the outside wall of the Kapsukas church, back against the main altar. Two weeks prior to this incident, students from the boarding school located next to the church splattered the church with mud.
Gižai (R a y o n of Vilkaviškis)
Student Ilma Golubovskaitė was to be given a religious burial on October 20, 1978. Principal Savickas and the teachers of the Gižai Middle School demanded that the parents bury their daughter in a godless manner. The parents were warned that if a priest presides at the funeral, people will not be allowed to leave work to escort the deceased to the cemetery and they would suffer other unpleasantness. The believing young girl was given an atheistic burial.
It's the end of the 1977-78 academic year. The graduating class is taking physics exams. The exam is being conducted by school principal Bazys. Graduating student Žilionis approaches the examinor. Spying a cross on the youth's chest, the principal assails him:
"Remove the cross right away!"
"I will not remove it," boldly replies the youth.
"Remove it," stemly shouts the principal.
The stubborn and courageous youth did not obey the principal. The thoroughly enraged disseminator of atheism then trips up the graduating student who had a good scholastic record with tricky questions and gives him an unsatisfactory grade. The youth's future is ruined, he is prevented from enrolling in a school of higher education.
In the spring of 1978, sixth grade student Vilius Meškaus-kauskas of the Biržai Middle School refused to sing an atheist song. Because of this, he had to bring his parents to school, he was discussed at a class meeting and two students were assigned to follow him.