"To:  M. Gedvilas, Minister of Public Education of the LSSR 
The Curia of the Vilnius Archdiocese

    A Petition by the Parents of Pupils from the Parish in Ceikiniai, in Ignalina Rayon

    "We, the parishioners of the church in Ceikiniai, wrote a petition to the General-Secretary of the CPSU on September 5, 1972, a copy of which was sent to you. On October 10, 1972, you sent us this written reply: 'Replying to your petition, we hereby state that the church cannot interfere in school matters, disrupt the established order, or compel children to perform religious rites. (Signed) M. Gedvilas, Minister of Public Education.'

    "We were expecting a more serious answer, particularly from the Minister of Public Education. From all the facts we set forth, it is readily apparent how teachers and even the head of the Department of Education interfere in the internal affairs of the Church, disregarding basic parental rights. But in your response there seems to be the tendency of casting the blame on us, who have been wronged.

    "On March 3, 1969, the parents of the pupils from the parish in Ceikiniai wrote to the Ministry of Public Education that [Miss] Kanišauskaitė, a teacher at the school in Valenai, had expelled Verutė and Onutė, daughters of the Galatiltis family, and [Mrs.] Varnienė's daughter, Alma, because the mothers had taken their daughters to church on Christmas Day. In the same petition we wrote that during a religious festival in May, 1967, Jadzevičius, the head of the Ignalina Department of Education, came to Ceikiniai and, summoning our pastor from the church, interrupted the services for some time.

    "In 1969 [Miss] Medeišyte, a teacher in Ceikiniai who wanted to enroll all our children into the Pioneers, assigned her pupils a writing exercise in the Lithuanian language so they would learn how to write an application for joining the Pioneers. After the pupils had writen down such an application as though it were a writing exercise, the teacher collected their papers and told her pupils, 'You are now Pioneers.'

     "Late in the evening on January 16, 1967, Ceikiniai teacher [Mrs.] Šiaudinienė drove Algis Sapiega out of the dormitory because he was a churchgoer and would not join the Young Communist League. The lad walked home, a distance of seven kilometers, at night through a blizzard, with the temperature at twenty-five degrees below zero centigrade. He became ill after he returned.

    "In our previous petition to you we pointed out the facts about students being forced to write all sorts of declarations without their parents' knowledge to be used in bringing charges against priests, and about teachers punishing students simply because they park their bicycles near the churchyard, and so on.

    "It seems to us that teachers would not act in this manner if the Ministry of Public Education did not condone such actions.

    "We would like to know how all this can be reconciled with the Soviet Constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience for everyone.

    "We trust that you will seriously consider all these problems and will in the future abolish all these inequities.

March 28, 1973"

The petition was signed by 120 parents.