Another school and religion and freedom case:
Cheektowaga teacher sues over forced removal of religious items
Joelle Silver, 29, complained in federal court papers that Cheektowaga Central School District officials threatened to fire her if she didn’t take down posters with religious messages, notes with Bible quotes and a “prayer request” box for the school’s Bible Study Club.
Silver, who teaches biology and anatomy and has been with the district for seven years, got rid of the material.
She then charged district officials with violating her First Amendment rights and acting hostile because she is Christian
The case dates back to last June, when a student alerted the Freedom From Religion Foundation to a poster with a biblical verse in Silver’s class and a drawing of three crosses on a wall near her desk.
The student also reported to the organization that a guest speaker discussing genetic defects in Silver’s anatomy class had used Bible passages in his presentation and that Silver herself had referred to Adam and Eve in a discussion about the human rib cage.
The student felt uncomfortable and alienated by the religious references and materials, said Markert, who wrote a letter to Kane on June 7 asking the district to investigate and direct Silver to take down the postings.
A week later, on June 14, Markert wrote another letter informing Kane of additional religious postings in Silver’s classroom, including four posters with Bible quotes from the Book of Psalms.
The student also said that Silver told students in the anatomy class that whoever had reported her to the Freedom From Religion Foundation lacked integrity and character and was akin to someone who had cheated on the final exam, Markert wrote in her follow-up letter.
The major problem here is that if schools actually did their job, students would be able to look at any poster and disregard it as they saw fit, because they would be able to think for themselves.
Since that is hardly achieved in schools, then any poster becomes a “thought control” tool of the poor, brainless student.
Superintendent Dennis Kane said the district was caught in the middle of a dispute between “two big special-interest groups” and was likely to be sued regardless of what it did or didn’t do.
The original poster she was told to take down contained a quote from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians: “Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. And everything you do must be done in love.”
The quote was superimposed over a picture of an American flag and school books.
“Is that proselytizing?” asked Muise.
The district demanded that Silver take down a posted quote from Ronald Reagan, in which the former president declares “without God democracy will not and cannot endure” and “If ever we forget that we are One nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”
The district ordered Silver to remove even the small personal sticky notes with Bible quotes she kept on her desk and to keep any Bible verses in a private folder.
Muise called it “one of the most egregious examples of religious hostility I have witnessed in a public school.” Any religious reference in schools is “treated almost as if it’s some disease that has to be eradicated,” he added.
The student who went to the Law Firm to complain did act in a dastardly way. One could say the student is too young to address the issue with the teacher, but his or her parents are not. So going behind the teacher’s back and complaining and bringing on a lawsuit is really an underhanded way to act.
I feel for the principal, etc. who are exactly, as they said, caught between a fight of two interest groups and are going to get sued no matter what they do.
Then, did the teacher have all kinds of posters in her classroom or only the ones mentioned here? In any case, she may be a little “loud” about her beliefs, that’s not my main concern. My concern is if she would treat students differently based on if they shared her views or not – like grading. Plenty of liberal teachers persecute conservative students covertly, and that’s a problem. However, if she treats students fairly, no matter how much they don’t follow her beliefs, then she is not overstepping boundaries.
Moreover, liberal teachers bring their personal views to the classroom all the time. For example, they try to teach students their corrupt, ignorant views on homosexuality -that it’s normal, that people are born “that way” – all the time.
What we need is a separation of Liberal Ideology and State. Liberal Ideology (endorsing hook-ups, p0rn, promiscuity, homosexuality and bisexuality, abortion on demand, etc.) is harmful and should never be taught to students. Yet it is what we see constantly on television, radio, film, books, and often enough, transmitted by junk of liberal teachers in schools and universities to students.