It’s getting pretty deep out there. A public school teacher bans a student from wearing the cross. She even calls it a gang symbol. Despicable!
The left is putting an assault on religious freedom. It is only going to get worse and the losses will be even greater for our children. For the most part many of us have enjoyed lives that allowed us to reap the benefits of the Bill of Rights as well as the Constitution. Most of our lives Republicans as well as Democrats have fought for these rights. Well, things are transitioning in a big way. If we do not draw a line in the sand, our children will have no idea what it is like to live with these liberties and freedoms.
Here is a specific situation of what we need to fight against. A teacher from Hillsborough County, Florida has a very cruel way of teaching her Christian students.
When her tactics became known, high school math teacher Lora Jane Riedas instantly went into some hot water. Some of the students have lawyers that are from the constitutional defenders at the Liberty Counsel. Recently they sent a letter to the district superintendent which went into great length explaining the situation.
Here is the letter from the Liberty Counsel:
We write on behalf of parents of children in the classroom of teacher Lora Jane Riedas, a math teacher at Riverview High School, who report that Ms. Riedas has prohibited at least three children from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming on occasion that they are “gang symbols.” They are not gang symbols, but are symbols of personal faith. A picture of one of the crosses, less than an inch tall, is attached. Subsequent to her cross ban, Ms. Riedas singled out at least one of the students for a number of false “misbehavior” allegations.1 One of our student clients reports that she had just sat down in class, and placed her books on her desk, when Ms. Riedas approached her. Referencing the tiny cross necklace which was around the student’s neck, Ms. Riedas said, “I need you to take your necklace off.” Our client asked “Why?” and Ms. Riedas refused to explain, stating “That’s disrespectful; you have to take it off.” Our client did not want to be disrespectful, so she took it off, but she felt bad because she felt she was being forced to deny her faith. All of our clients are afraid to openly wear their cross necklaces in class any more. Ms. Riedas has further engaged in impermissible LGBT political activism in the classroom, and has indicated her intent to further do so during instructional time. Ms. Riedas is planning to promote GLSEN’s 2 “Day of Silence” coercive political activities during instructional time in her classroom on Friday, April 21, 2017. In addition to being opposed to student religious expression, we understand that Ms. Riedas is the sponsor for the R.G.S.A Gay-Straight Alliance (“GSA”) at Riverview High School, and that her classroom is permanently decorated with LGBT political themes, including a large display on her wall stating “ALLY,” a “Safe Space” poster and door sticker, and assorted other LGBT promotional material, including buttons prominently displayed on her desk, facing students, stating “I Love My LGBT Students” and “PROUD Public Employee.” These buttons make other students feel marginalized and excluded, and not full members of the classroom community. Moreover, at the beginning of the semester, Ms. Riedas placed LGBT rainbow stickers on students’ classroom folders without their consent, which were there one day when the students arrived. One of our clients reports that after she removed the LGBT sticker, Ms. Riedas’ behavior toward her changed markedly for the worse…
The totality of Ms. Riedas’ behavior is very concerning: banning cross necklaces on the one hand, while promoting wholesale LGBT political activism on the other. By retweeting GLSEN’s “guide” for classroom activism, Ms. Riedas is encouraging other teachers to engage in what she herself appears to be preparing to do on Friday, April 21: classroom activism during instructional time, requiring students who do not agree with “Day of Silence” to participate in various forced activities entirely unrelated to math class, and rewarding students who participate in the political activity she herself favors.
In banning cross necklaces from three different students in her classroom, Ms. Riedas has “intentionally violate[d] or den[ied] a student’s legal rights.” The right to wear a cross necklace is clearly established. There is no question that students have the right to wear religious jewelry, despite any specious claim of “gang affiliation” by Ms. Riedas. Subsequent to her cross ban, Ms. Reidas has subjected at least one of the students “to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement,” in singling the student out for false allegations of student behavior violations. In her numerous promotions of homosexuality in the classroom, including GLSEN’s “guide” she has indicated an intent to “intentionally . . . distort subject matter” which is beyond the scope of classroom instruction. In the cross ban and subsequent harassment, Ms. Riedas has violated the prohibition on harassment or discrimination “against any student on the basis of …religion . . . political beliefs . . . or social and family background.” The same holds true for any of the activities from GLSEN’s “guide” which she plans to foist upon the students, as well as the final prohibition on “exploit[ing] a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage,” in that she holds a position of power over students, and is using that to push her own politically activist LGBT beliefs upon them…
Parents have the fundamental right to determine the jewelry as well as the associations and activities of their minor children. School officials have no business in intentionally interfering with parent-approved religious jewelry, or in promoting their pet political ideologies during instructional time to a captive audience. 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…
As sad as it sounds, the behavior of Riedas is becoming more and more common around the country. There are many great teachers out there, but unfortunately they get overshadowed by the disgusting ones such as Riedas. There are many other examples of instructors overstepping their boundaries and pushing their flawed agendas on our youth. We must step forward and make sure this does not continue to happen.