Maybe this would be a good place to draw that line: Was High School Girl Possessed In Class?
Students at a Mississippi high school said a fellow student spoke in tongues and made grave predictions for her classmates for three days.
Some of those predictions included when students would die.
Sparks and his classmates said they think an evil spirit possessed the girl. They were so convinced that Sparks and his friends brought Bibles to school and had a devotional.
“Some believe, some don’t.” Clanton said. “They say it was the devil, but the devil only tells lies. Everything I said was the truth.”
Clanton said she admits she spoke in tongues and made predictions for her classmates. But she said it was God speaking through her, not the devil.
Checking my calendar I see that, yup, it is 2009. I realize there is a chance this is purely attention-seeking on the part of both the “possessed” and the victims. The TV station mainly talked with the students who had been the ones to reach out to the media. But the “possessed’s” mom seemed to be going right along with this.
Kylie Sturgess on PodBlack Cat has launched a good conversation about how a teacher should approach the subject of skepticism vs. cultural respect in the classroom. Is it OK to base a critical thinking-type lesson on debunking horoscopes, ouija boards or ghosts? Or would such subjects spark too much controversy and thus be off limits? But is marking such lessons as off limits irresponsible and thus promoting the exact opposite of critical thinking, which then perpetuates the goofy “possessed” junk?
I think Kylie nails it on the head when she says: “Talking to counselors, deputy principals and certainly my Head of Department – and being prepared to compromise if need be for what is still more about a method – rather than a particular topic.”
So, how do you handle a situation where a student is acting, in all seriousness, “possessed”? And how do you talk to the other kids who are convinced something is going on and are freaked out about it?