The Freedom From Religion Foundation is urging a Huntington, W.Va. school district to rein in a teacher using her position to denigrate LGBTQ and non-Christian students.
A district parent alerted the state/church watchdog that a Cabell County Schools health teacher has been abusing her position to proselytize students. Last week, the teacher reportedly went on a three-minute rant, during which she taught from the bible, expressed disgust that some students don’t believe in a god and disparaged non-Christians. The teacher implied that non-Christians are not and cannot be brought up with “morals and values.” She reportedly admitted that she is aware she is not allowed to promote her personal religious beliefs in class, but said that she tries “to squeeze it in a little bit without getting in too much trouble.”
The teacher reportedly also said that she doesn’t “believe in” same sex relationships. When teaching students about hormonal changes during puberty, she remarked:
“The thing is you have to choose, what are you going to do with those feelings and thoughts? And if you’re brought up with morals and values, then God’s going to be there to help you make better decisions.”
FFRF has written a letter to Superintendent Ryan S. Saxe, asking that the district ensure this health teacher ceases preaching her religious beliefs to students, teaching from the bible or denigrating non-Christians.
“Because this teacher has admitted that she is aware of, and yet unwilling to follow, the law, which prohibits religious indoctrination in the classroom, she has admitted that she is not fit to be a public school teacher,” writes FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line. “She understood the law and deliberately violated it, imposing her religion on other people’s children in the process.”
The district’s response, FFRF emphasizes, must be commensurate with the deliberate nature of this violation of students’ rights — this teacher knew that she was trampling their rights and the law and it did not deter her.
“This health teacher’s religious screed is both shockingly unlawful and ethically impermissible,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “The district must protect its students from this coercion and scorn.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 35,000 members across the country and members in every state, including West Virginia. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.