An eighth grade teacher at Starmount Middle School in Booneville, N.C., will no longer proselytize to her students, thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The teacher said in class that "God is the only creator of the universe" and "evolution is not allowed to be considered." She also used skeletons adorned with T-shirts as teaching aids, including shirts that said "Jesus is my Homeboy" and "Mary is my Homegirl." The Secular Student Alliance sent two emails to the teacher, pushing for the removal of the offensive shirts. A third email went out to the school principal, but garnered no response. FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert intervened on Feb. 28: "Public schools are prohibited from teaching creationism or 'intelligent design.' Courts have routinely found that such teachings are religious and unconstitutional."
Markert argued that the t-shirt display directly violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. She added that schools may not display Christian or other religious messages on school grounds. "It is unconstitutional for the school to promote a Christian message to students through t-shirts put on display by a school official."
In a March 8 letter of reply, Superintendent L. Stewart Hobbs confirmed that the t-shirts had been removed.