It Pays to Complain: June 2011

FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott wrote Superintendent Mike Turner in Cayuga, Ind., about this sign at the North Vermillion High School athletic complex: “It is unconstitutional for the school to send a biblical message to students that it is ‘the will of God’ to ‘Remember your Creator.’ This is precisely the type of message that public schools are not allowed to endorse.” Turner responded that the School Board met June 20 with its attorney about the sign: “An acceptable replacement sign is being designed and will be made to replace the challenged signage. My timeline is to have the replacement sign in place before school starts for the 2011-12 school year.”

Buttinsky put in his place

FFRF member Elizabeth Liddell, Pennsylvania, writes:
I had surgery last week for the first time ever. While I was waiting alone to be wheeled into surgery, a man approached and leaned over me, without introducing himself, and asked if I’d “said my prayers.” I didn’t know if this was the anesthesiologist, a doctor, a nurse or what.

I answered, “I’m not the praying type,” to which he responded, “Well, you should be.” Then he went on with “the Lord” this and that, and how I should be thankful “for all He has done.” I told him twice that it was inappropriate for him to be speaking to me like this. After the second time, he walked away.

I complained immediately to the nurse, who said that the man was a nursing assistant (no degree) who was not assigned to my case and shouldn’t have been in the area at all. I am pleased to report that all of the doctors, nurses and students who subsequently approached me expressed horror on my behalf and totally validated my concerns.

The nursing manager met with my husband during surgery to inform him of the incident and followed up with a meeting in my recovery room and a letter of apology. The nursing assistant admitted he does this frequently, but I’m the first to complain, so they thanked me for that and told me that they will do diversity training as well as discipline him.

All in all, I felt that the incident was handled very well, and I’m glad to have had the chance to right a wrong that was being done to people while at their most vulnerable — a captive audience, as it were. I thought you’d like to know!
[Editor’s note: Thanks very much, Elizabeth. We’re very glad to know!]

Freedom From Religion Foundation