A teacher at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, said she was forced to quit after she allowed her students to have free reign in her creative writing class.
Katrina Guarascio gave her students an assignment to take a fairy tale or legend and rewrite it in a modern context. One student took the biblical story of Jesus feeding people fish and bread, and replaced it with Jesus giving marijuana to the sick.
“I don't take any personal offense,” Guarascio said. "It's not written for me. It's written for them. It's how they can express themselves."
In a peer review between students, one classmate was deeply offended by the story’s content and told her parents. The district then investigated the incident, and Guarascio was put on administrative leave.
Guarascio said she felt targeted and harassed at work and felt she was forced to resign. “[The investigation was] kind of a slap in the face for years of hard work,” she said.
A spokesperson for Rio Rancho Schools said Guarascio chose to resign. "The teacher involved chose to resign rather than follow the district's direction that classes be administered in a professional manner,” she said.
Despite this, Guarascio said she still loves teaching. She advised her students to keep writing, despite the critics.“If they have something to say, say it,” she said. “Not everyone's going to agree with you. But that doesn't make your point invalid or worthless. Tell your story.”