Teacher alienates students, FFRF disciplines teacher (Dec. 16, 2011)

In south Texas, a teacher put a nativity scene is his public school classroom. According to FFRF’s complainant, the teacher erected the nativity for “people of my faith, fellow Christians.” Also according to FFRF’s complainant, the teacher put up a Grinch Who Stole Christmas display for “every other religion, people who aren’t Christians.”

Acting quickly, FFRF wrote a Dec. 14, 2011, letter to the superintendent of the district: “It should go without saying that, if the allegations are founded, it is highly inappropriate for a public school teacher to demean a student’s religious beliefs or lack of belief by likening them to a cartoon villain. [The teacher]’s alleged statements and these displays exceed not only the bounds of courtesy, but also the bounds of the First Amendment.”

After pointing out the legal precedent that nativity scenes in schools violate, the letter called the teacher’s statements “rude, divisive, and wildly inappropriate for a public school teacher. The school environment should welcome all students, not just those who adhere to his faith. If the statements were made, [the teacher] deliberately alienated young students.”

Two days later FFRF received a letter from the school district’s attorney, advising that “the referenced displays have been removed from the classroom and appropriate directives have been conveyed that protect religious freedoms.” Furthermore, “[w]hile the outcome of the investigation is confidential” the district was investigating the allegations against the teacher. A solid victory for the Constitution. 

Freedom From Religion Foundation