Saturday, June 28, 2014

Christian Teacher Loses Suit Challenging Required Removal of Religious Postings In Classroom

In Silver v. Cheektowage Central School District, (WD NY, June 24, 2014), a New York federal magistrate judge recommended dismissing most of the discrimination claims brought by a Christian high school science teacher who was required to take down from her classroom her display of several Bible verses, other statements about God and a picture of three crosses on a hill. She was also told to prevent guest speakers from promoting religion.  The court rejected teacher Joelle Silver's Establishment Clause and free speech claims and most of her equal protection claims, saying that the school has authority to take action to avoid litigation claiming Establishment Clause violations.  The court also characterized as "inapposite" the teacher's comparison of her displays to those by the school social worker that were designed to create a welcoming environment for LGBT students. The court however recommended permitting plaintiff to proceed with a claim that school policies relating to her role as advisor to the student Bible Study Club were selectively enforced. News 4 reports on the decision. American Freedom Law Center issued a press release announcing the decision.