Federal Judge: Forced removal of Christian materials from classroom was Legal

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Federal Judge: Forced Removal of Christian Materials from Classroom Was Legal

By Garrett Haley | christiannews.net

gavel-II-pd-300x199BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York federal district judge ruled on Tuesday that a public school was justified in forcing a Christian science teacher to remove personal Bible-themed materials from her classroom.

As previously reported, Joelle Silver works as a high school teacher for the Cheektowaga Central School District near Buffalo. Silver, a Christian, displayed several inspirational posters and artworks in her classroom, including a number of Bible verse references and Christian materials.

One poster in Silver’s classroom included a quote from former President Ronald Reagan:

“Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience,” the quote said. “… Without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure … If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”

Other religious materials in the classroom included a drawing of three crosses on a hill, four small posters featuring verses from Psalms, and several sticky notes with biblical citations stuck on Silver’s desk.

In 2012, representatives with the Freedom From Religion Foundation learned of Silver’s Christian materials and swiftly complained to school district officials. Soon afterward, Silver received a warning letter from the school superintendent advising her to cleanse her classroom of the Christian materials.

“I … want to caution you that your Constitutional Rights, including those you enjoy under the First Amendment, are not without their limitations,” the superintendent warned in the letter.

“It is my conclusion that you are using your publicly funded classroom to express your personal religious beliefs to your students,” he wrote, “including but not limited to your apparent belief in the divine inspiration and authority of the Bible as the word of God.”

The superintendent ordered Silver to remove all of her religious materials or else face the termination of her job at the school.

“If you need to be able to occasionally glance at inspirational Bible verses between classes during the course of the day, I suggest that you keep such material in a discreet folder that only you will have access to,” the superintendent instructed. “You may keep such a folder in a drawer of your desk, so long as you take precautions not to share it or disclose its contents to your students or their parents or guardians.”

After receiving the threatening letter, Silver decided to challenge the school in court, alleging that the superintendent’s orders were a violation of her religious freedoms. With help from the American Freedom Law Center, Silver filed a lawsuit which argued that the Bible “guides her actions, including her actions as a public school teacher.”

“I believe that my First Amendment rights were violated last June when I was asked to do some things regarding taking some posters down and to censor my speech in the classroom,” Silver told reporters. “As a Christian and as an American I feel it’s incredibly important to fight to protect the rights that people have died to give them.”

The lawsuit also pointed out that the same school district freely allowed a social worker at the school to display a variety of “gay rights” materials both inside and outside her office, including materials from the Human Rights Campaign—a pro-homosexual, anti-Christian organization. Unlike Silver’s situation, the school district did not reprimand the social worker for displaying the materials.

“[The school district’s] restrictions have had a chilling effect on [Silver’s] personal, noncurricular speech,” the lawsuit contends. “As a result of [the] restrictions, [Silver] is unable to discuss her faith or discuss other subject matter from her Christian point of view while on School District property. Indeed, as a result of [the school’s] draconian restrictions, [Silver] must keep her faith hidden at all times.”

Two years after the Cheektowaga Central School District initially commanded Silver to remove the Christian materials from her classroom, a district judge ruled this week largely in the school district’s favor, arguing that the display of Christian materials was inappropriate. In a 42-page opinion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Foschio said the school district did “not infringe any liberties” by ordering Silver to remove her materials.

Robert Muise, co-founder of the American Freedom Law Center, said in a press release that the Tuesday court ruling is “dripping with hostility to religion.”

“To assert that the School District was justified in ordering Ms. Silver to remove small, sticky notes containing handwritten, inspirational Bible verses that she attached to the back her desk for fear that these small, personal notes would violate the Establishment Clause, as the School District argued and the magistrate judge found, is simply absurd,” Muise stated.

“Indeed, this case should remove any lingering doubts as to whether our government, which includes the judiciary, is hostile to religion,” he continued. “But I can assure you that this fight is far from over.”

12 Comments on “Federal Judge: Forced removal of Christian materials from classroom was Legal”

  1. Kyrandia Peters

    It amazes me how these elected individuals will come down hard of anything referring to Christ, The Word of God or Christians. How is displaying scriptures to help her through out the day a danger to the children in the classroom. The schools are the way they are now because they have taking God completely out. But to me it’s horrific that they will allow a teacher to promote a gay lifestyle to children who are innocent. Satan plan is truly going forward, But only My God word will stand in the end. I support that teacher and since I can’t be there in person to support you I will be in spirit. This is the main reason we have pulled our children out the public school system and begin to home school because Jesus Christ will be their main foundation Not the world!!!

    1. Irla

      I agree. Pull your kids out of public school. For in public school they are being taught the “the world” view. In some form of home schooling you at least have some control over what they are exposed to.

  2. Neal C

    The world is in the last days and we don’t see it that is so sad and the enemy is not trying to hide it. I am praying like never before.

  3. Simply Maria

    There used to be a saying, There will be a cold day in Hell before…..
    I am afraid Hell is getting warmer and warmer and they call it Global Warming…what a joke. People are going to have to answer for the things they are doing. Read the book 23 Minutes In Hell.

  4. Rene

    This is to be expected. I’m waiting for them to kill us and blow us up like they’re doing in Muslim countries. They’re already putting us in jail. It’ll get worse. Good thing is they will all go to the lake of fire when after they’re judged by God.

    It’s good she took a stand. I mean it’s not like any of her students or students’ parents complained about it. An outside organization made a complaint with nor real validation for it’s reasoning except she’s a believer in Jesus Christ.

  5. Rainey

    It is a shame when you can’t express what you believe in When every thing and everybody is expressing their believeth. This is a land of the freedom, gays can have their rights, and all other groups. God help us.

  6. 1servant

    Wow we’re on our way undrground true church evrything that The Master said is coming to past . I’m looking up our redemption is drawing nigh. Keep pressing prayin and standing. Thanks exministries

  7. SEA'VEN CADOCHE

    PERSUADED…EVERYTHING LEGAL IS NOT LAWFUL! I PRAY THE ATTORNEYS APPEAL THIS UNLAWFUL DECISION; SIMULTANEOUSLY, GOING AFTER THE OATH OF OFFICE OF THE JUDGE WHO MADE THIS DECISION INTERPRETING THE LAW RATHER THAN UPHOLDING IT!

    The rights of Believers are protected 24/7 by the LAW OF THE LAND “US CONSTITUTION” AND ENDOWED BY THE CREATOR-YAHWEH.

    “The first amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion (the teacher’s posters or stickers did not establish any laws pertaining religion), impeding the FREE exercise of religion (including public square proprogating therein), abridging the freedom of speech (via poster, sticker, etc any/every where).

    Thus, even to make illegal laws upholding the separation of church and state; which is NOT written in the constitution is NOT LAWFUL!

    BODY OF CHRIST KNOW YOUR WORD WHICH IS THE BELIEVERS’ CONSTITUTION. HOWEVER, AS YAHWEH ADMONISHES US TO BE WISE AS THE SERPENT- LEARN THE US CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS, ARGUNG EVERY POINT FIRST ACCORDING TO THE STANDARDS OF THE BIBLE THAN FROM A CONSTITUTIONAL VIEWPOINT! PERIOD!

    YAHWEH, GIVE US VICTORY HERE. FOR, YOUR WORD SAYS, “YOU SHALL NOT BE MOCKED! In YESHUA’S NAME, I DO PRAY…SO BE IT UNTO US, AMEN!

  8. Sa

    If America and the world could remove Christianity from their faces they world. Inside they are raven ounces wolves who know not the grace of God. Stand strong where ever you find your self ands b glad to be persecuted for Christ.
    he will redeem the righteous.

  9. Iris

    I always thought that school was a place of LEARNING, to be curious and ask questions…..hmmmm, maybe that was only true when I was in school….back in the stone ages (’70s) I am soooo glad that I have been afforded the opportunity to place my child in a Christian school….scriptures all over the place, right next to the posters of the planets and the universe, etc.,(all things were made by HIM :-) where there is no denying a child from asking any type of question, scientific, mathematical or spiritual. I pray for those children who no longer have the opportunity to start a convo at school and maybe even at home, because there is No WORD to inspire their questions.

    That said, I am not surprised….

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