Friday, May 11, 2007

NJ School Board Settles Complaint About Teacher's In-Class Proselytizing

Today's New York Times reports that the Kearny, New Jersey, Board of Education voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve a settlement with the parents of high schooler Matthew LaClair. The LeClairs had filed a lawsuit complaining about in-class proselytizing by Matthew's history teacher, David Paszkiewicz. (See prior postings 1, 2.) Matthew had recorded his teacher, who is also a Baptist minister, saying that students who do not accept Jesus belong in Hell, that the "Big Bang" theory is unscientific and that dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark. In the settlement, the school agreed to have the Anti-Defamation League train students and teachers about separation of church and state (including issues regarding the teaching of creationism). Also under the settlement agreement, the Board will issue a statement praising Matthew for his "courage and integrity," and the LaClairs will issue a statement commending the Board of Education. Additional postings about the settlement are at Melissa Rogers and Blog from the Capital.