ICC Note: After a New York public school removed Christian items from teacher Joelle Silver’s classroom, District Court judge Leslie Foschio ruled that the school’s actions were legal. Despite the fact that many of the items were not prominently displayed, such as small post-it notes on the back of her desk, they were removed as well. Silver has filed a formal complaint against the school district and is being represented by the American Freedom Law Center in order to overturn the decision.
By Michael Gryboski
06/27/2014 United States (Christian Post) – A magistrate judge has ruled that a New York public school’s removal of Christian items from a science teacher’s classroom was legal. The teacher, Joelle Silver, had multiple Bible verses on display, as well as a painting that included three crosses on a hill, and a prayer request box on her desk that was placed there by the school’s Bible Study Club, which she served as a faculty monitor.
The decision given Tuesday by a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York dismissed part of the motion given by the Christian teacher.
Judge Leslie G. Foschio argued that Silver’s lawsuit against Cheektowaga Central School District, its Superintendent Dennis Kane and its Board of Education President Brian J. Gould could not proceed on the basis of her rights being violated when they removed the Christian items.
Silver’s lawsuit reveals that while Christian-themed posters and post-it notes were removed from her classroom, a social worker at the high school is allowed to display materials inside and outide her office that “promote the gay rights agenda.”
These materials included posters, bumper stickers and decals “one decal with the ‘equal’ symbol of the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay rights, anti-Christian activist organization.”
According to the lawsuit, although the soical worker’s materials are intended to create a “welcoming environment,” for LGBT students, “the displays also create an atmosphere of intolerance toward students who have religious objections to promoting the LGBT lifestyle or agenda.”
In the 42-page decision, Foschio did, however, conclude that the lawsuit could advance on the complaint of Silver regarding equal protection on allegations of selective enforcement.