FFRF gets prayerful teacher to resign in Texas (Aug. 9, 2011)

FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt wrote a letter July 20 to Superintendent Xavier De La Torre of the Socorro Independent School District in El Paso, Texas, after complaints were received about teacher-led prayer and creationism instruction. Schmitt reported allegations that Laura Varela, Montwood Middle School science teacher and girls soccer coach, promoted creationism in her classroom. “We further understand that on several occasions, Ms. Varela has led her team in prayer prior to the start of a game.” According to a parent complainant, while exploring the “big bang” scientific theory, the teacher allegedly told students that “really, God created the world.”

On Aug. 9, Larry Baskind, school attorney, responded that Varela had resigned effective June 30. “Accordingly, there should be no concern regarding actions by her in the future.” Baskind said the school “has been unable to confirm” that the questionable activities occurred, adding that the district “has in place appropriate policies to assure that teachers and other staff comply with applicable law.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation