Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School Bans “In God We Trust,” Judge Disagrees

A California school district forced the removal of a teacher's posters in his classroom that presented a “Judeo-Christian” point of view, but the Judge disagrees saying the references to God are NOT about a divine entity.

-- From "Judge doesn't toss lawsuit by teacher" by Onell R. Soto, San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer 9/10/08

A federal judge has ruled that [Westview High School] officials shouldn't have made a Rancho Peñasquitos [San Diego, CA] math teacher take down classroom banners proclaiming “In God We Trust,” “God Bless America” and other sayings.

This lawsuit was filed by [teacher Brad] Johnson, who asked the judge to tell the school district the banners were OK.

In his 23-page decision issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez denied a motion by the Poway Unified School District to dismiss the case, but he didn't order it to do anything about Johnson or the banners.

Benitez noted that, according to Johnson and his lawyers, the school district allows other teachers to choose what they display on their walls, including Tibetan prayer flags and posters with Buddhist and Islamic messages.

“By squelching only Johnson's patriotic expression, the school district does a disservice to the students of Westview High School, and the federal and state constitutions do not permit such one-sided censorship,” he wrote.

In the ruling, Benitez said the banners aren't religious and “do not advocate” for the divine.

School board members will have to decide whether to continue to fight the case in front of Benitez, appeal the decision or settle the lawsuit, said their lawyer, Jack Sleeth.

Sleeth said the issue isn't as simple as Benitez made it sound.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.