Friday, April 21, 2017
Where Did Teaching Children Reading, Writing And 'Rithmatic. Why Do We Have To Get Into Politics?
Fla. LGBT Teacher Warned Over Her Hostility Toward Christian Students
(Katie J. Read, Liberty Headlines) A public high school teacher in Hillsborough, Fla. Tweeted that she planned to lead her students to participate in a Day of Silence organized by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) on Friday, as an act of protest to highlight alleged discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Lora Jane Riedas (right)/PHOTO: Facebook
The Christian advocacy organization Liberty Counsel sent a letter to Hillsborough County Public Schools demanding they prohibit the math teacher, Lora Jane Riedas, from obstructing students’ religious liberty and promoting her personal politics in the classroom.
On March 21 Riedas re-Tweeted a message to GLSEN documenting her search for lesson plans that could coordinate with the Day of Silence protest. It represented her most recent attempt to advance her liberal political agenda in her classroom at Riverview High School. Liberty Counsel also documented her denunciation of Christian, and otherwise conservative practices and expression, in her classroom.
According to GLSEN’s website, the Day of Silence is a student-led event calling upon schools around the nation to participate.
“Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQ,” according to the website.
In a guide for educators, GLSEN suggests teachers create lesson plans to allow students who participate in the silent protest to continue in their engagement with classroom materials: “Educators have a huge role to play leading up to and on GLSEN’s Day of Silence. The Day of Silence is still a school day when learning needs to happen.”
In the letter to the superintendent of the Hillsborough schools, Liberty Counsel lawyers Mary E. McAlister and Richard L. Mast wrote that their clients, who are parents of children under Riedas’s care, have experienced several incidents in which the teacher barred her students from displaying their faith.
“Ms. Riedas has prohibited at least three children from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming on occasion that they are ‘gang symbols,’” McAlister and Mast said. “They are not gang symbols, but are symbols of personal faith.”
Parents also reported that Riedas fastened stickers of the iconic LGBTQ rainbow onto the notebooks of their children without student permission. One student, after removing the sticker, said she noticed Riedas treated her with hostility compared to the other pupils.
McAlister and Mast cited several United State Supreme Court cases that support religious liberty in public institutions, as they made their argument against Riedas’s behavior, saying that religious speech and expression is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, which extends into public schools. The lawyers also argued that parents have a right to direct their children’s moral upbringing, without judgment or interference from their teachers.
Representatives from Liberty Counsel wrote in the letter that they plan to press charges against Hillsborough schools unless their demands are met: “The Hillsborough County School District is hereby on notice that any further violations of student rights in this fashion will be viewed by Liberty Counsel as sufficient to support a federal lawsuit for civil rights violations.”