FFRF stands up for Texas public school students (January/February 2024)

Students in the Reagan County ISD in Big Lake, Texas, are free from a teacher’s frequent attempts to indoctrinate them into Christianity, thanks to FFRF’s diligent work.

A fourth-grade social studies teacher was promoting personal religious beliefs in the classroom and teaching the Christian bible to students. FFRF’s complainant reported that on Oct. 20, 2023, the teacher explained in a Facebook post that they checked out two Christian bibles and permitted students to read them during class time rather than teaching students actual social studies lessons. The teacher had a history of promoting religion on their Facebook page, including referring to being a public school teacher as a “ministry outside of church,” having their students write about Jesus because “they know who their teacher serves,” and sharing a graphic that implied homosexuality is an “abomination.”

“The district has a duty to ensure that its teachers are not using their positions to indoctrinate students,” FFRF Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Superintendent Eric Hallmark.

Upon receiving the letter, the Underwood Law Firm, serving as general counsel to the district, responded to FFRF. Attorney Fred A. Stormer informed that Hallmark conducted an investigation into the matter and discovered that the teacher claimed that they had no intention of promoting or endorsing religion in the classroom, and requests to read the bible were initiated by the students and occurred during free time. Additionally, Hallmark directed the teacher to refrain from expressions of religious viewpoints in the future. “[The teacher] acknowledged these limitations for public schools and chose to tender [their] resignation, effective as of the end of school today, Dec. 1, 2023,” Stormer wrote.

Freedom From Religion Foundation