FFRF complaint over prayerful teacher leads to Ga. school district action danielle@ffrf.org (Danielle) News Release Archives – Freedom From Religion Foundation – Freedom From Religion Foundation

Read More News Release Archives – Freedom From Religion Foundation – Freedom From Religion Foundation A Georgia school district has promised corrective action against a proselytizing middle school teacher after being contacted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national state/church watchdog.
A reading enrichment teacher at Richards Middle School in Gwinnett County, Ga., openly bragged on Facebook about using her position to convert students to Christianity. She ran a religious club at her middle school and regularly preached to students. For instance, she posted a photo on Facebook on Aug. 4 displaying a New Testament quote that she added to her “wall of quotes” in her classroom: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – Jesus Christ.” She posted earlier this fall that the principal had allowed her to start a prayer group with students, and recorded her successful attempts to convert students.
FFRF had demanded that Gwinnett County Public Schools investigate and take action to remedy these violations.
“Public schools have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion and to protect the rights of conscience of young and impressionable students,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to Superintendent Calvin J. Watts. “It is well settled that public schools may not show favoritism towards or coerce belief or participation in religion.”
It isn’t a violation of the free speech rights of teachers to regulate what they do while acting in their official capacities, FFRF stressed. Teachers have access to a captive audience of students due to their position as public educators. Therefore, the district must ensure no religious proselytizing takes place as part of the school day.
FFRF’s communique galvanized Gwinnett County Public Schools into action.
“In response to your letter, my client investigated the allegations and took corrective action to ensure compliance with Gwinnett County Board of Education policy, applicable federal statutes, and constitutional principles,” the school district’s legal counsel recently responded.
“We’re glad that we successfully alerted the school district to the outrageous behavior of the teacher,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Hopefully, this will spell ‘finish’ to her over-the-top preaching.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 38,000 members and several chapters across the country, including 600 members and a chapter in Georgia. Its purpose is to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church.