On January 29, 1979, a Week of Atheism was declared at the Pasvalys Middle School. A display of student artwork on atheist subjects was held. As in all such programs, the students were unwilling to participate. There were barely several drawings from the upper grades, all others (some 40) were from grades 5 and 6 where the students had to draw them during art class. Teacher Slanciauskiene went into classrooms and demanded that the drawings be finished more quickly.
During the night of February 1 to 2, all the drawings and the atheist school newspaper disappeared, and a poster with excerpts from the Constitution of the Lithuanian SSR (art. 50) was hung on the bulletin board: "Citizens of the Lithuanian SSR are guaranteed the freedom of conscience; that is, the right to profess any religion whatsoever, or not profess any, practice religious cults or conduct atheist propaganda. Fomenting discord and hatred in connection with religious beliefs is forbidden. The church in the Lithuanian SSR is separate from the state and the school from the church."
In the morning, the teachers quickly set up a new display in order to conceal the "theft."
A meeting of middle school and university students, attended by some 300 persons, was held on February 3rd. Proclamations were pasted to unoccupied seats, the Lithuanian tricolor flag was conspicuous, as well as slogans: "Russian occupants go home!", "Freedom for Lithuania!" and others. Short four line poems:
"Red, green and yellow,
Our tricolor flag.
Let's fight for freedom, brothers,
And Lithuania will once again be free, etc.
The proclamation aroused everyone's curiosity. Six extra teachers were called out to help catch the instigators.
Similar proclamations also appeared in the school dormitory, where a thorough search was conducted on February 5th.
On February 5, 6, and 7, eleventh-grade students were summoned (during classtime) to the principal's office for talks with security police agents.
On February 7th, llth-grader Rima Juzytė was summoned to the principal's office, for such questioning and one and a half hours later was taken to the Soviet Building. Security agents pleasantly and threateningly ordered her to tell who had organized and directed that the proclamations be distributed. The interrogation lasted until 6:30 P.M. (without a break for lunch). She returned home accompanied by Chief Ivaškevičius of the Pasvalys subdivision of the State Security Police and subdivision employee Roginov. The parents had not been informed of their daughter's interrogation. The interrogation continued at home with Middle School Principal Vytautas Kanapeckas in attendance. A cursory search was made of Ju-zytė's room, although they had no permission to search. Ivaškevičius confiscated master plates, poster paints, pictures of saints. The uninvited guests left the apartment at 10:30 P.M.
On February 8th, Juzytė was again summoned to the principal's office. Security Agent Roginov ordered her to write certain articles from the Constitution of the USSR. Juzytė refused to write anything.
On February 9th, classmate Rima Varžinskaitė was summoned for interrogation to the principal's office. After their failure with Juzytė, the security agents adopted more effective measures. They thoroughly frightened the girl and she confessed to distributing the proclamations. The girl became ill after the interrogation.
After being subjected to threats that she would be barred admittance to all schools and that her parents would suffer dire consequences (both party members, the mother a history teacher, the father a lawyer), a third "criminal" also confessed: Rasa Pulkauninkai tė.
The girls were summoned many more times for talks with School Principal Vytautas Kanapeckas, Assistant Principal Janina Miežanskienė, the Secretary of the Communist Youth League, and always during classtime!
On March 13th, speeches were written at the direction of Security Agent Roginov and the school principal for R. Var-žinskaitė, R. Pulkauninkaitė, the class Communist Youth secretary and several students. Other students were strictly forbidden to speak. After such preparations, a meeting of the school's graduating class was held. All eleventh-grade students attended, as did the class parents' committees, teachers, security agents Ivaškevičius and Roginov, the parents of Juzytė and Pulkauninkaitė—there were over 200 people in the auditorium.
R. Varžinskaitė read the prepared speech and repented; she tearfully promised not to transgress again. She was merely given a strict reprimand. Apparently the tears helped?!
R. Pulkauninkaitė also repented very deeply (only did not cry). Her mother spoke. Pulkauninkaitė's deportment grade was lowered to satisfactory, with a strict reprimand in her personal file.
Juzytė was punished more severely: She was expelled from the Communist Youth League, her deportment grade was lowered to unsatisfactory with the promise of such references that no school would admit her.
She was told that she belongs not in a Soviet school but a psychiatric hospital. Her parents were not allowed to speak.
Žemaičių Kalvarija (Rayon of Plungė, Varduva)
On April 11, 1979 A "hunt" for students who attend church was launched and is still taking place. Boys who serve at Mass and girls who sing in the choir are summoned from class to the principal's office and are interrogated there by teacher Neniškienė and security police employees from Plungė. The following students were questioned: lOth-grader Vida Vilniutė, 7th-grader Valė Gintvainytė, llth-grader Bimtė Šlimaitė, 7th-grader Lina Mažrimaitė, lOth-grader Laima Brazdeikytė, 9th-grader Martynas Jurgutis and others. They are asked questions such as: Do you get anti-Soviet newspapers, where did you get pins and booklets of the Friends of the Eucharist, who organizes various trips, what do priests say during sermons, who sings in the choir, who belongs to the Friends of the Eucharist organization? A search was conducted twice at the home of Vida Vilniutė. They were seeking underground literature, and perused a photograph album. Vilniutė was warned she would be imprisoned for distributing underground literature. A search was also conducted at the home of
Valė Gintvainytė. Anti-Soviet and religious poems she wrote herself were found in her possession, and as a consequence she was threatened with internment in a delinquent children's colony as a minor.
Friends of the Eucharist booklets, temperance booklets, Stations of the Cross booklets, various poems and holy pictures were confiscated from students. During the questioning, Teacher Neniškienė behaved in a particularly insolent and brutal manner, like a secret policeman with prisoners.
Gedrimai Rayon of Telšiai), The Gedrimai Grammar School
On March 21, 1979 eighth-grade student Stefa Račkauskaitė handed principal Limantas a statement because her deportment grade had been lowered. The principal assailed the girl: "I'd slap your face for this, but you'd immediately run to the pastor and Vatican Radio would report it two days later." We reprint the text of the statement:
I am an eighth grade student. I am a believing, devout girl. You probably already know this.
Nowadays we hear everywhere talk about the freedom of conscience. The Constitution of the USSR also affirms this. All civil rights are guaranteed there. It states that one can profess any belief.
But is that how things really are?
No, things are not like that. Everywhere believers are called ignorant, backward, uneducated. Devout persons are considered second-class citizens. This also holds true here, in the eighth grade of the Gedrimai Grammar School.
A consultation was held before preparing for a Russian language contest. I was assigned to tell a story. But I refused, because I already knew that my conduct was unsatisfactory. And I informed the class leader of this: "I will not learn the story. Let the exemplary students prepare." The classroom teacher suggested that we step outside the room for a brief talk. I agreed and even asked: Do I need to take my notebook. He replied no. When we stepped outside, the class leader told me that my deportment trade had been lowered because I was absent from school on December 25, 1978 and attended religious services.
I replied that all this doesn't make sense: 'Don't you know that conduct marks are not lowered for such things?"
This is how our talk ended and we returned to the classroom. The following day I took the story.
Mr. Principal, my deportment grade was lowered the first trimester because of that "offense", but why the second trimester? You will perhaps say that I do not take part in activities? How can I, a believer, participate in atheist programs?
If my deportment grade was lowered for some other reason, please let me know. And if only for the faith . . . For I commit no crime by going to church, I violate no law. For this is all allowed by the Constitution. I think that unbelieving teenage boys and girls cause a great deal of damage. While "sober" they break the windows of the bus station, commit thefts. And is their deportment grade lowered? No, this youth is exemplary.
Such is the equality of all citizens and students. We can fearlessly say that there is no equality here.
March 21, 1979
Rayon of Telšiai, Pasruojis Post Office, Village of Brėvikiai Račkauskaitė, Stefa.
The funeral of a woman whose son, Petras Klinga, is the director of the Education Department of the Rayon of Panevėžys was held this spring.
After his mother's burial, Petras Klinga began having severe difficulties. Someone reported that during the Catholic funeral he followed his mother's coffin into the church and remained there during the entire funeral service.
Because of this "crime", Petras Klinga was terrorized at his place of employment. His case was even investigated by the rayon Communist Party, for the "criminal" is a member of the Lithuanian Communist Party. The question of expelling him from the party, as well as dismissing him from work, was debated.
Finally, after lengthy interrogations and investigations, he had to go to Vilnius and justify his actions there. When asked in Vilnius "What did you do in church?" Klinga replied "I stood."
"If you only stood, you can return and continue working at your job." And so, this time, the outcome of this incident was more than unexpected.
This is how petty atheist bureaucrats think up "work" for themselves and waste other people's time over things that normal people would not even give a second thought.
Skapiškis (R a y o n of Kupiškis)
Jonas Kaušakys, the principal of the Skapiškis Middle School, brutally discriminates against believing students. For instance, when a theft occured at the school, he blatently searched only believing students: Stasė Raudonytė, Vaida Belickaitė and Petrašonytė. When the parents objected to the suspicion and degradation to which their children were subjected, the principal retorted: "We fight and will continue to fight religious superstition!"
On the feast of St. Joseph, the namesday of pastor Juozapas Giedraitis, the children who attended church congratulated their pastor with poems and flowers. An outcry was heard at the school. Teacher Markevičiūtė so intimidated the children that they were afraid to go to school. Parents had to personally take their weeping children to school. When the parents demanded that the teacher stop frightening the children, she assured the parents that congratulating the pastor was a political act.
Luokė (Rayon of Telšiai)
On May 31, 1979, Principal Vaišvila of the Luokė Middle School, Teacher Andriusevičius, Editor Vaseris of the Telšiai Rayon newspaper Beacon of Communism and two persons from the Telšiai party committee interrogated the following students of the Luokė Middle School: 6th-grader Gintaras Jankauskas, 5th-grader Valius Ambrožas, 5th-grader Saulius Leščianskas. The students were berated because they go to church and serve at Holy Mass. The above named students, as well as 5th-grader Romas Želvys, had also been interrogated on the same subject two weeks earlier. At the time, the students were ordered to fill out questionnaires about their faith. At the end of the school year, all these students received lower deportment grades. Although they earlier earned exemplary deportment marks, their behavior is now considered only "satisfactory."
But even by using such methods, the atheists cannot defeat ordinary school children. Saulius Leščianskas fearlessly told the interrogators: "I will go to church. I will only obey my parents and the pastor."
But the atheists are adopting ever new means of compulsion.
On June 4th, all the above named students and their parents were summoned to the Telšiai militia. The militia had received a complaint from Luokė Middle School teacher Andriusevičius. He charged that parish pastor Šapokas was luring children to church, with alcoholic beverages. But the facts did not corroborate this, nothing similar had ever happened, the pastor's only "sin" was that he invited school children to church. The militiamen ridiculed the teacher's charge within earshot of the students and their parents:
"That's not a crime! Go to church as much as you want. The law does not forbid it. Doesn't the teacher know the law? And it's better for us when people go to church, for they do not break windows and we have less work to do."
Sidabravas (Rayon of Radviliškis)
Atheist work has been stepped up at the Sidabravas Middle School. Despite the example of V. Starkus "who became a full human being," the youth participated in great numbers in Holy Week services and the Easter procession.
On April 10th, tenth-grade homeroom teacher J. Bajorūnienė forced Sigitas Kalnius as well as four schoolgirls to justify in writing why they visited the sacristan several days earlier. Sigitas Kalnius explained that he is not a Communist Youth member and therefore can visit the sacristan.
Somewhat earlier, physical education teacher Barzdonis searched the pockets of Grade 7B students and confiscated a rosary from Arvydas Lotužas. He asked the student whether he attends church. Receiving an affirmative reply, the teacher stated it is "an old wives' tale" and he would therefore return the rosary to the parents.
On April 12th, Lithuanian language teacher V. Pranculienė explained to Grade 8B students during class: 'The church was built only for old women . . . Easter and other religious feasts are approaching; you are eighth graders, so please don't wander around the churchyard — act your age."
Teacher Motiekaitis was especially vehement. During half of the art class on April 14th, he spoke to his homeroom, Grade 6A, on an atheist topic. According to him, only old people should go to church and there is no need for the young to go there. Gesturing with his hands, he explained: "I'm showing you here 100 rubles; you see them, but you don't see God, then why go to that church?!" Pointing to student Vilma Petraitytė he shouted: "So you go to church." The schoolgirl replied: "I go because I want to."
The homeroom teacher threatened to relieve her of her position as leader of the class Pioneers and give her a lower deportment grade. The student retorted that she was voluntarily withdrawing from the position and that the teacher had no right to give her a lower conduct mark because even teachers go to church. The teacher ordered her to be silent and added that the teachers know which students are believers and will thesrefore give them lower deportment grades and expel them from school.
That same day, School Principal M. Razma took the sisters Zita and Laima Stanelytė to Teacher Motiekaitienė's office. In front of the principal, Motiekaitienė asked the girls who orders them to go to church, where they get white dresses, does someone give them candy in church, which other students attend church, will they strew flowers during Easter? The students replied that they go to church of their own will, no one gives them anything; the teachers should come themselves and take a look. The teacher warned the girls that if they do not stop going to church, their conduct marks will be lowered.
On April 16th, the principal took Grade 6A student Vida Balčiūnaitė to his office. In the presence of the head of curriculum, (Mrs) Motiekaitienė, he asked how long she had been going to church, who told her to go, was she given anything in church, which other students attend church, would she continue going? The student replied that she would go to church in the future. The principal threatened that her conduct grade would be lowered for attending church, and if she still persisted she would even be expelled from school.
On April 18th, the atheists put up an atheist display at the school.
At a school Communist Youth League meeting, one teacher and one student were assigned to observe which students attended church. They are Russian language teacher Z. Vaškevičienė and 11th-grade student Sabaliauskaitė.
On April 19th, grade 7B homeroom teacher Vaškevičienė lectured her class that God does not exist and that fasting was invented by landlords to force the peasants to starve. She asked the students which ones attend church. The students replied that the church is separate from the school, they therefore have the right to go to church. The homeroom teacher then explained that only old women go pray and kneel every day. She also added that persons had come from the rayon during Easter, had made a list of all the students who were in church and the priest would be punished for his sermon.
It is no secret that some teachers are believers and practice their religion. One teacher stated that she would not scold believing students on her own, but that she "is pressured from above." Since the law does not forbid students to attend cult services, those teachers who terrorize believing students on their own initiative as well as those who do so "pressured from above" can only be called, in the words of the parish pastor's Easter sermon, "undertakers of the nation."