FFRF stopped a teacher from punishing a student based on private religious beliefs.
On Nov. 9, a student at Lakewood Middle School in Salina, Kan., reportedly said “god damn” in front of their teacher. The teacher responded harshly by demanding the student to come forward. When the student explained that they did not believe in God, the teacher carried out a discussion about religious beliefs, before singling out the student by removing them from class.
“While teachers can, of course, enforce rules related to cursing or inappropriate language, they cannot impose the rules of their personal religion onto students or argue with students regarding their personal religious beliefs,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to Salina USD 305 Superintendent Linn M. Exline.
A response from Exline stated that “I can assure you that the parent’s concerns were taken seriously, were investigated, and that the teacher was reminded that she must refrain from engaging in the business of the district in a way that could be construed as an attempt to impose her own personal religious beliefs on her students.”
Additionally, the district took the position that any discussion of religion is to be strictly limited to serving an academic purpose and must be consistent with approved school curriculum.