Illegal poster removed from Texas classroom (January 9, 2014)

A teacher in Rusk, Texas, will no longer be displaying religious iconography after FFRF was contacted by a concerned parent of a Rusk High School student. The poster read, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God the salvation of everyone who believes. Romans 1:16.” The bottom of the poster added, “This poster is illegal in 51 countries.”

FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell illustrated in a Dec. 13 letter why it’s illegal.

“While it is certainly not illegal to own or privately display such a poster in the United States, it is illegal for the poster to be displayed by a public school teacher, acting in her official capacity, on District property.”

It is not a violation of the teacher’s free speech or free exercise rights to require her to remove the religious poster, Cavell added, because she is exposing students to this religious iconography solely because of her position as a public school teacher.

On Jan. 9, the district replied with a letter saying that the poster has been removed.

“Additionally, the high school principal reminded the staff of the separation of state and church with regard to their choose of posters and/or displays in their classrooms.” RISD Superintendent Scott David informed FFRF. “All campus principals and departments directors will be reminded of our constitutional duties as public school employees with regard to the separation of state and church.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation