In 1979 in Prienai Secondary School no. 1, homeroom teacher [Miss] Ambraziūnaitė several times attempted to force grade 8C pupil [Miss] Dalyte Bruzgaitė to join the Communist Youth League. The schoolgirl objected boldly: "I don't want to, and I won't!" On October 13 during a parents' meeting held at the school, the homeroom teacher interrogated Dalytė's mother about the reasons the girl refused to join. Even though her daughter was a very good student, if she did not join the Communist League Youth, Ambraziūnaitė would be forced to mention the fact that the
girl was politically immature in her reference letter, and the girl would not be able to enroll in any school of higher learning.
The mother assured homeroom teacher Ambraziūnaitė: "What is important to me is that my daughter is a good student; the Communist Youth League is my last concern."
In a meeting with Bruzgaitė the following day, Ambraziūnaitė told the girl to join the Communist Youth League because her mother had given her permission.
Soviet educators use deceit without any qualms, just so that their classes would have 100 percent membership in the Communist Youth League.
On October 18, 1979, [Mrs.] Vaikšnorienė, a teacher at Prienai Secondary School no. 1, questioned grade 5C student [Miss] Jolanta Urbšaitė why she was a churchgoer, who urged her to go, what the priests said in their sermons, and so on. Then the teacher strictly forbade the student to go to church.
On October 31 a teacher at Prienai Secondary School no. 2, [Mrs.] Stakevičienė, summoned the eighth-grade student [Miss] Aldutė Černevičiūtė and warned her that if she continued to go to church, she would be summoned before the teachers' council. The girl was not intimidated. During a geography class on November 13 Stakevičienė said to the entire class: "One girl in this class goes to church and sings in the church choir. She complained about me to the priest. He slandered me in his sermon . . ..I never said it is forbidden to go to church. If you are that foolish, go, but don't find fault with me. What will you say in confession, now that you've slandered me?"
The students were shocked by the boldness of Stakevičienė. She had threatened Aldutė on October 31, and now dared to deny her own words in front of the entire class!
In 1978 at Prienai Secondary School no. 2, [Mrs.] Natkevičienė, a homeroom teacher, gave 7A-student [Miss] Linutė Banytė a grade of only "satisfactory" for her conduct because she did not come to school on Sunday, May 7, but went to church instead (that Sunday had been declared a school day.)
On October 31, 1979, Prienai Secondary School no. 2 Principal Micka summoned tenth-grader Aldonas Gudaitis during a physical education class and questioned him:
"Where do you plan to go after graduating from school? Are all your brothers believers? Is it true that you and your brother sing in the church choir?"
"Yes," confirmed Aldonas boldly.
The principal then threatened him:
"Nothing will happen to you, but those who hold the rehearsals, the priest and the organist, will have to answer. It is written in the atheism handbook that minors are forbidden to serve in church or sing in the choir and that adults who let youngsters do so are to be punished instead of the minors."
The principal did not "know" the atheism handbook is not the law! People may only be punished for breaking the law.
In 1978 [Mrs.] Dal4 Vidrinskienė, a teacher at the Tartupis Elementary School in Prienai Rayon gave only a "satisfactory" conduct grade to seventh-grader [Miss] Marytė Gudaitytė, who always had grades of "good" or "very good," because she frequently attended church with her parents.
"To: Lithuanian SSR Education Minister Rimkus
Prienai Rayon Education Department
"In November of this year lower-grade students had to draw atheistic pictures on the order of [Mrs.] Žemaitienė, a teacher of Prienai Secondary School no. 2. Believing students were also forced to draw, negating their beliefs. The students' atheistic drawings, displayed on November 26, ridiculed the Catholic Church, priests, and believers. After several classes, someone tore down some of the drawings. Then the school's atheists' leader, who is also a teacher, [Mrs.] Tamašauskienė, after calling on several students to assist her, began to seek out the'criminals.' She gathered together an entire group of suspects. The homeroom teacher ran around to the homes of these children and explained to the parents the children's'crime' and 'insolence.' The teachers were not able to prove who had actually torn down the atheistic drawings, however.
"School Principal Micka, his assistants, Kuras, [Mrs.] Radkevičienė, [Mrs.] Venslavičienė, and other teachers, summoned a number of students for talks: 9B-student Sigitas Bitkauskas, 9A-student [Miss] Jūrate Kaukmanaitė, 7A-student [Miss] Virginija Stamkauskaitė, 7C-student [Miss] Virginija Jankevičiūte, 9A-student [Miss] Skaidra Skinkytė, and 9B-student [Miss] Angele Stakevičiūtė.
"The students were questioned not so much about the offense but about whether or not they go to church, sing in the choir, or serve at mass. Vice Principal Kuras even cursed at the schoolgirl Virginija Stamkauskaitė. The students were berated, scolded, threatened, and forced to write explanations. The teachers interrogated the students for several hours at a time.
"Four students — [Miss] Linutė Banytė, Sigitas Bitkauskas, Jūratė Kaukmanaitė, and Virginija Stamkauskaite — were issued strict reprimands, given lower conduct grades, and their names were posted on the school bulletin board.
"Because of this incident, we wish to state the following:
"1. A school does not have the right to force believing students to draw atheistic pictures, to participate in atheistic activities, or to listen to atheistic lectures.
"2. Teachers do not have the right to interrogate students about their faith; that is not only a clear violation of Soviet law but is also inhuman.
"3. The teachers did not prove the students' guilt, and, therefore, did not have the right to punish the students. Their punishments, therefore, must be repealed.
"4. It is more fitting for hooligans rather than educated pedagogues to fight against the faith by means of caricatures.
"5. The school should spend less time delving into childrens' beliefs and more time tending to hooligans, because it graduates many such 'rejects.' "
Signed by 82 individuals
Užuguostis (Prienai Rayon)
On December 1, 1979, an atheistic program was organized at the Užuguostis Secondary School. [Miss] Mendeikaitė and [Miss] Barauskaitė, both teachers, forced believing children to recite atheistic poems, ridicule the faith, mock God, the saints, priests, and devout people. Bolder upper-grade students refused to act in this godless play, but certain lower-grade students were successfully forced to participate in the atheistic program. The children and their parents were deeply hurt at such a mockery of their faith.
On December 8 of the same year, a teachers' meeting was held at the Užuguostis school to discuss the atheistic education of students. [Mrs.] Sodaitienė, a teacher and a Communist, was outraged that during a funeral students had dared to kneel in church in the presence of their teachers. She demanded that the conduct grades be lowered for 6th-graders [Miss] Rita Venckaitė, [Miss] Aldutė Karvelytė, and [Miss] Dalia Bagdanavičiūtė because they attend church services and sing in the choir. Their grades were lowered to "satisfactory' although both girls are very good students and well-behaved. On the other hand, conduct grades are not lowered for students who smoke or come to class drunk.
At the December parents' meeting, many mothers protested the atheistic upbringing given schoolchildren. "We do not want our children to be hooligans and drunks," the mothers told Principal [Mrs.] Kruvelienė.
On December 14, 1979, the funeral of the father of Kazys Krivickas, a grade-8E student at Kapsukas Secondary School no. 4, was held in Kapsukas. The student's classmates came to the funeral. Kazys also asked them to attend the funeral services in church, but they were strictly forbidden to go. The homeroom teacher, Burigina, remained at the churchyard gate. Brave students ignoring the warning entered the church carrying flowers and wreaths. Some thirty of Kazys's classmates attended the services. Only a few students did not dare to enter the church.
Kybartai (Vilkaviškis Rayon)
On October 2, 1979, at the Kybartai Secondary School, grade 3B student [Miss] Mačiulaitytė lost her rosary in the cloakroom. Someone brought it to the homeroom teacher, [Mrs.] Regina Miliauskienė. Upon discovering that the rosary belonged to Mačiulaitytė, the teacher threw it on her desk saying, "Don't bring this loathsome thing with you again."
Such fanaticism on the part of Soviet teachers is not accedental. It is the result of their Communist upbringing and the constant coercion of educators by the Ministry of Education.
Skirsnemunė (Jurbarkas Rayon)
[Mrs.] Irena Domeikienė, a teacher at the Skirsnemunė Secondary School, terrorizes believing children, ridicules them, devises a variety of degrading punishments (drives believing students from class, hits them on the head with a book or ruler, etc.). The first-grade pupils [Miss] Gudavičiūtė and [Miss] Butkutė suffered such a fate at her hands.
Sidabravas (Radviliškis Rayon)
On October 5, 1979, at the Sidabravas Secondary School [Mrs.] Bajoriuniene, a biology teacher, interrogated the grade 6A students Vilius Staskunas, Vidmantas Lotuzis, Virginijus Šiaučiūnas, and Saulius Rudaitis in order to learn why they had been to the sacristan, what they had discussed, and whether he had treated them to any candy.
On October 18 during Russian-language class, Bajoriūnienė ordered believing students to stand up. Staškūnas and Lotužis stood up. Staškūnas asked the teacher why she forbade school children to attend church if school regulations do not do so. Lotužis stated without attempting evasion, "I attend church because I want to!" The student's bold confession enraged the teacher.
Sidabravas Secondary School students are made to write compositions and stories humiliating priests and believers. At the initiative of another teacher, [Mrs.] Giedraitienė, compulsory art contests are held on atheistic subjects. On October 11, 1979, the grade 6A homeroom teacher, Petras Bajoriūnas, ordered all the students to draw pictures on an atheistic theme. When the student [Miss] Žydrūnė Kalnytė said she did not know what to draw, the teacher retored: "Draw a davatka (derogatory term referring to an overly pious person — Tr.) holding a rosary and crawling on her knees around a cross." On October 24, Bajoriūnas warned that five atheistic drawings must be handed in for the following day's contest, and student Vidmantas Lotužis must draw some sort of davatka. The student refused. The enraged teacher began to shout: "You'll be brushing away a tear when you won't get more than a 'C in drawing this term!"
Grade 7B homeroom teacher [Mrs.] Andriušaitienė ordered the student Ričardas Valentinavičius to draw an atheistic picture. He firmly refused, saying that he hadn't done so for ages. When the grade 7A homeroom teacher, Motiekaitis, was brought a drawing by the student [Miss] Vilma Petraitytė, he criticized it because it contained no mockery of religion. He then ordered her to draw a drunk holding a bottle and praying to God for liquor. Other drawings were torn up by Giedraitienė, the head of atheistic projects, as being unartistic since they were not antireligious.
Varniai (Telšiai Rayon)
On September 25,1979, Varniai Executive Committee Chairman Skupov sent a written summons to Juozas Laugalys, the organist of the Varniai church. Chairman Skupov and Varniai Secondary School Principal Dabulskis questioned him about the Varniai church children's choir. "We have witnesses who say that you have organized a children's choir which sings in church during mass. That is not allowed," shouted the school principal. Skupov kept pointing to some kind of Russian regulations which, according to him, clearly indicated that children were forbidden to sing in church. Dabulskis threatened Laugalys that if children did continue to sing at services, he would no longer be able to be the Varniai organist; the principal would see to it personally.
The organist explained to the officials that children are not forced to come to services and are not organized by anyone; therefore, he could not tell them whether or not to
be in church, how to pray, stand, sing, or use a prayer book.
Janapolė (Telšiai Rayon)
On September 27,1979, several religious statuettes and a decorative cross were stolen from the shrine in the churchyard of the Janapolė church.
Judrėnai (Klaipėda Rayon)
Kiekštienė, a teacher at the Judrėnai Elementary School constantly terrorizes the children who refuse to join the Communist Youth League and who attend church.
Just before Christmas of 1978 the teacher ordered fifth-grader Saulius Pulkauskas to remove a cross and chain from his neck. Saulius refused. The teacher sneaked up behind him and personally tore off the cross and chain, saying mockingly, "Instead of the cross, I will tie a Pioneer's scarf around your neck." The schoolboy would not yield. "I will not wear it."
Saulius's mother later went to the teacher's home and demanded that she return the cross, but the teacher mocked her and refused.
In March 1979 [Mrs.] Kiekštienė called on believing students and nonmembers of the Communist Youth League — Vytautas Stonys, [Miss] Kazė Papievytė, and others — to answer in class. The students answered well, but before recording their grades, the teacher asked the schoolchildren whether they still attended church, what they did there, etc. The students admitted that they believed and went to church every Sunday.
"Well, then, sit down! You're getting 'D's'!" shouted the angry teacher.
Judrėnai Elementary School Principal Henrikas Juškus, as he was recording the grades of students on November 26, 1979, said to sixth-grader Saulius Pulkauskas:
"Why don't you join the Pioneers? Don't you like the government? Because you are not a Pioneer, you will get a 'B' instead of an 'A' in geography."
At the beginning of the 1979 academic year (September), Mažeikiai Secondary School no. 3 tenthgraders [Miss] Dalia Griciūtė and [Miss] Lidija Mackevičiūtė asked [Mrs.] Venclovienė, a teacher, for permission to withdraw from the Communist Youth League because they were believers. They did not wish to be hypocrites since they were enrolled in the league by force.
After this, the two girls were summoned to see Principal Rimiškis, who "educated" them at length. The chemistry teacher, [Mrs.] Šleiterienė, threatened she would not help them be religious bigots and would, therefore, in the future grade Dalia's work with a "D." The teacher is doing that now. Furthermore, the girls are constantly persecuted and ridiculed for attending church.
School Principal Rimiškis explained to Griciūtė's mother that the girl can be a member of the Communist Youth League and attend church at the same time, but if she leaves the League, she will not be admitted anywhere to continue her education.
The principal refused to talk to Mackevičiūtė's father, knowing that Mackevičius is a firm believer and attends church daily.
Gargždai (Klaipėda Rayon)
At Gargždai Secondary School no. 1, the grade-3B homeroom teacher, [Mrs.] Pukinskienė, attempted to forcibly enroll Rimas Paukštys in the Pioneers during April 1979. "Don't trouble yourself, teacher; I'm a believer and won't join the Pioneers," Rimas assured her. The angry teacher took Rimas to the school's principal, Jurgulis. The boy boldly explained to the principal that he would not join the Pioneers since he was a believer. In order to frighten her students, homeroom teacher Pukinskienė told them: "If you don't join the Pioneers, I'll call your parents' place of work, and they'll be fired."