The intensive persecution of believing students which was launched in Telšiai in 1977 is still continuing. Despite the fact that teachers, school inspectors and even principals have been interrogating students, often ridiculing them in front of the entire class (this is how art. 52 of the Constitution is enforced here: not to foment hatred in connection with religious cults), despite threats that believing students would be given such references that no school of higher education would admit them, the students were not intimidated and continue to attend church.
Such behavior is an anti-government crime. Students who attend church daily, are handed over to government security organs. Security agents weekly interrogated 10th-grade student V. Mėmis from the 4th Middle School, 9th-grade students Remeza, Juškaitė and others from the 5th Middle School. If they refused to report to the security police, they were forcibly taken directly from class. All this occured with the knowledge of educators! The security agents did not make any serious charges, they simply frightened the young people, ordered them to spy on their friends and to report on the conversations of fellow classmates.
The KGB's efforts to recruit students as spies is one of the most serious crimes which damages the morals of adolescents.
On February 16, 1978, Assistant Principal Andrijauskas of the 4th Middle School summoned Nurse Želvienė to the school to discuss her son's behavior and threatened to hand him over to the security police because he smiles during his atheist lectures and serves at Mass in the Cathedral.
The mother inquired whether her son behaves well in school. The inspector replied: "He is noted for his good behavior, but in life, he will not achieve anything important if he is a believer.
Take yourself, what have you attained woth your faith?" the teacher concluded on a mocking note.
On February 20, 1978 9th-grade homeroom teacher Slivins-kaitė forbade her students to attend the funeral of the mother of their classmate Zeniauskaitė. During services, the homeroom teacher sat on the bus with the students. Several students disregarded the teacher's order and attended the services. Only after the rites had been concluded, did the homeroom teacher go with the students to take the wreaths.
During an open meeting of the Communist Youth League (which all students had to attend) Teacher Andrijauskas stated that the students who were in the church during the funeral or served at Mass dishonored the school and violated school regulations. The School Principal, (Mrs.) Adomaitienė came to the 9th grade and berated the students who attended the services. Homeroom Teacher Sli-vinskaitė complained that she cannot sleep nights because she has to write a letter of explanation about this "offense."
Teacher Andrijauskas constantly intimidates students telling them they cannot attend church because law-breakers are employed there, etc. For example, in the middle of February, in grade 8b of the 4th Middle School, he began to explain during a health class that Cathedral organist Šeduikis is a criminal, that Father Kaunec-kas is mentally unbalanced and that documents are being drawn up to commit him to a psychiatric hospital. (This is not news, USSR security agents often deal in this way with persons they detest.) In December, Andrijauskas himself used security police methods in interrogating students and in the meantime he neglects his direct duties—teaching.
On March 23, 1978, Birutė Ribiskaitė, a regular churchgoer, was summoned to the Telšiai security police. Security agents had visited her parents earlier and had threatened them: "What will you do when your daughter lands in jail?" The only charge against this believing young girl is attendance at church services.
On January 20, 1978, Kvėdarna Middle School Principal Aldona Dulcienė and teacher Janina Krasnickienė terrorized the following students: Rolandas Šneideris (erade 4a), Gintaras Bernotas (grade 5), Algis Račkauskas (grade 5b), Aloyzas Stasytis (grade 5a) and Rimas Rupšis (grade 4a). They were quetioned about why they attend church and why they serve at Mass? Are they instigated by the pastor and what does he give them for serving at Mass?
Regina Bernotienė, the mother of 5a-grade student Gintaras Bernotas, went to the Kvėdarna Middle School on January 23, 1978 to see Principal A. Dulcienė and teacher J. Krasnickienė and sternly protested any further intimidation of her son Gintaras for attending church and serving at Mass. Teachers Dulcienė and Krasnickienė explained that pioneers cannot attend church. The mother was outraged and stated that her child cannot be enrolled in the pioneers without her knowledge and demanded that her son be withdrawn from the pioneers because she will always take him to church and allow him to serve at Holy Mass.
Viešvėnai (R a y o n of Telšiai)
Believing children are being persecuted at the Viešvėnai Grammar School. In the second grade, primary-grade teacher Kurap-kienė scolded student Urvakis in front of all the children for attending church. In order to punish the student, the teacher changed his seat and placed him among poor students (he is a good student). Students Armonas and Rubinas were also scolded for going to church and were ordered to tell who else attends church.
Teacher Jurevičienė intimidated children, telling them that a list has been drawn up of those students who attend church.
The funeral of (Mr.) Bumeliauskas was held at the Viešvėnai church on February 13, 1978. His two grandchildren were to attend the services and their classmates wanted to attend also. The school principal did not permit the students to go to the church. The students brought their wreaths to the church and left, and after the services again came back in to get them.
Assistant Principal Raišutienė ordered all the students to write statements about whether or not they believe in God. Every student was obliged to write such a statement. Most students wrote that they doubt. They did not dare write the truth, because students who attend church receive lower subject grades in this school. Such methods are used to intimidate students, and an atmosphere of fear prevails. Even parents are intimidated. Parents' meetings called by Assistant Principal Raišutienė and teacher Leinartienė have caused the parents to be outraged: "Little is said about the upbringing of the children, school matters and other educational problems, but atheist propaganda is spouted for hours."
Principal Stancelienė of the Viešvėnai Grammar School summoned (Mrs) Liaugaudienė (at the beginning of February 1978), the mother of several children, and berated her because her children attend church. The principal threatened her son Petras:
"If you go to church we will give you a lower deportment grade."
"I will still go," the child boldly replied.
"We will then expel you from school!" the teacher shouted.
"When you expel me from school, I will then go to church day and night."
Sartininkai (R a y o n of Tauragė)
Funeral services were held on December 4, 1977 at the Sartininkai church at which Sartininkai Grammar School teachers Kazlauskienė, Rušinskienė and others were present. The teachers noticed on that occasion that student Egidijus Stoncikas assisted the priest who was conducting the funeral service. The following day, teacher Rušinskienė called on student Stoncikas to answer in class and ridiculed him in front of the entire class for serving the priest. In addition, he receive a lower deportment grade. During a class meeting, the student asked the homeroom teacher why his deportment grade had been lowered, since he had committed no offense. The homeroom teacher again ridiculed Stoncikas and threatened that the priest would be fired, and the student would have to bring his parents for an explanation. After class, the homeroom teacher took the student to the principal's office. She again ridiculed the believing student in the teachers' room. Teacher Rušinskienė called the student the most ignorant student in the entire school.
"You probably want to be a priest?" asked one of the teachers.
"And why not? Four of my uncles are priests," Egidijus boasted.
Presently, the teachers are attempting to involve student Stoncikas in atheist work, but also never miss a chance to ridicule him.
Former priest Vytautas Starkus arrived with his entourage at the Vilkaviškis Middle School on March 16, 1978. In his lecture, he debased priests, the Seminary, etc. In his opinion, all priests are immoral and do not believe in God. Starkus feels that Nijolė
Sadūnaitė spoke at her trial the way she did because she was in love with the pastor of Svėdasai (Msgr. Raudas — Ed. note) and the Rev. Sigitas Tamkevičius.
The students presented Starkus with many written questions, but his "entourage" read them first and passed only some of the questions on to Starkus.
Starkus also spoke in the same vein at the Kybartai Middle School.
Middle School Principal Šatikienė summoned students from class to her office and asked who forces them to attend church, sing in the choir, serve at Mass and how much they are paid? The students replied that they do not go to church for money. The principal then stated: "No one does anything for nothing! How can anyone possibly sing and serve at Mass for nothing?" Principal Šatikienė demanded that they promise to stop going to church. She threatened to hand those who disobey over to the Rayon government. Student Jolanta Vaitkutė replied: "I promise ... to go!"
The church organist, (Miss) S. Vaitiekaitytė was summoned by the district council where Vaitkus and Šatikienė suggested that she not allow students up to the choir loft: "Let them sing downstairs."
In this school, believing students are ridiculed, especially by teachers Skyrienė, Neniskis, Mikalauskas, Mikalauskienė and others.
The Catholics of Širvintos are disturbed because the Education Department is not giving the necessary attention to the moral education of students. Middle school students are already learning to use not only ink, but also alcohol. Dances are held Saturday nights, lasting until dawn; half-drunk students roam the streets. It is not unusual for even homeroom teachers to be quite drunk at these dances.