Monday, October 17, 2011

Teachers Forbidden Private Christian Lives

Sycamore High School teachers in Pleasant View (Cheatham County) Tennessee were not allowed to participate in an evening community-wide Christian event organized by students out of fear of another ACLU lawsuit.

-- From "Teachers Not Allowed To Speak At After-School Prayer Event" by Tim Wetzel & Heather Graf, WTVF-TV5 (Nashville) 10/12/11

The student group said they got permission to hold the "Fields of Faith" event on-campus at Sycamore High School, but they had no idea that teachers couldn't take part until [they were told on] Wednesday morning.

The controversy did not put an end to the music and worship on Wednesday night, but it did put a damper on things. About a dozen teachers showed up, but kept a low profile in the stands.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tim Webb said that the district must take every precaution in regards to the separation of church and state, because it's already been sued once about the very same issue.

The district recently settled the lawsuit that was filed in 2009 by four families who were accusing the system of promoting Christianity in three different schools.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Teachers steer clear of religious expression" by Bob Smietana, The Tennessean 10/16/11

Gwen White Owl, a math teacher at Sycamore High School, had been invited by students to speak at last week’s prayer rally. She said the district’s lawyers said no, out of fear of another lawsuit.

“[Teachers] can go to whatever they want, it is their free time,” [Tim Webb, director of Cheatham County Schools] said. “In my mind, it was a student-initiated event. It was held on school property. That changes the rules.”

David Cortman, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, said that teachers from Cheatham County Schools have contacted his organization, which is considering a lawsuit.

Cortman said Fields of Faith was a community event, and teachers were free to take part it. He compared the situation to a teacher attending a church that meets in a school. In that case, a teacher would be free to talk about religion to students who attended that church, even though it met in a school.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "ACLU concerns still linger" by Tim Adkins, Ashland City Times 10/14/11

With the Cheatham County school district still feeling the aftermath of the ACLU suing the district in November 2009 for promoting and endorsing religious activity, many questions still remain on what is or isn’t acceptable in the schools.

The School Board settled the suit in March 2010.

Under the terms of the settlement, the district agreed not to solicit prayers at school events or promote their own religious beliefs to students in class or at school events.

. . . three Pegram Elementary School educators were issued letters of reprimand last year for praying openly at an event. Those letters were issued only after a complaint was made.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.