Thursday, April 27, 2017

Florida School Up to Its Necklace in Legal Trouble

Making a fashion statement wasn’t the point of a 9th grader’s cross necklace in Florida. Making a statement of faith was. And to her LGBT activist teacher, that was the problem. At Riverview High School in Hillsborough, a freshman girl barely set down her books on her desk when Ms. Lora Riedas pointed to her small cross pendant and said, “I need you to take your necklace off.” Stunned, the girl asked why. The teacher refused to answer and instead barked that it was “disrespectful” and repeated her demand. Not wanting to seem disrespectful, the teenager did what she was told.

Upset, her parents contacted our friends at Liberty Counsel who sent a letter to the superintendent explaining that it was the teacher who was disrespectful. “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.”

This is exactly the kind of anti-faith hostility that flourished under the Obama administration. Of course, one look at Ms. Riedas’s classroom and it’s obvious where that hostility stems from. Plastered with rainbow flags, buttons, and propaganda, the teacher is a forceful LGBT advocate. At the beginning of the year, Liberty Counsel points out, she even put rainbow stickers on her students' folders without their permission. When one student peeled hers off, she noticed that she was treated with more hostility than her peers. Talk about hypocrisy! This teacher is banning crosses on one hand and engaging in “wholesale LGBT activism” on the other. If anything’s offensive, it’s that! “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,” the letter claims. “Ms. Riedas is planning to promote GLSEN’s ‘Day of Silence’ coercive political activities during instructional time in her classroom this April 21, 2017.”

None of this is a surprise to Ms. Riedas’s Twitter followers. The teacher’s feed is full of advice about “how to talk to kids about what it means to be an LGBT ally” and how to engage on the transgender bathroom issue. And according to school policy, posting these things isn’t the problem — posting them during class hours is. As Liberty Counsel reminds Riverview High, “It is the policy of the Board that students, staff members, and District facilities not be used for promoting the interests of any non-school agency or organization, public or private, without the approval of the superintendent.”

Together with her attorneys, this brave 9th grader is asking for the right to express her faith, which is already guaranteed to her by the Constitution. Students should never have to check their beliefs at the school house door — or anywhere else for that matter.



Anonymous said...

Well neither political/social or religious promotions should go on in schools (either by teachers or students), where the object of the school should be simply to conduct the approved educational curriculum. On the other hand, there should be no reasonable objection to simply wearing a small and discreet item of jewelry or badge (such as a cross or a rainbow) so long as it doesn't involve verbal promotion of their significance (and if asked, then explained as not relevant in the school environment).

Anonymous said...

It is time to take politics and social issues out of schools where they should never have been. It is time to tell teachers to leave their politics, their religion and their gender opinions/orientation at the school gate. It is bad enough that higher educations allow these activities to distract the focus of education on students trying to learn and achieve a good future for themselves and become productive for their family and their country. If you want to teach then teach, don't preach. Stop pushing your opinions on young people trying to make sense of a crazy world.

Bird of Paradise said...

I bet the teacher would have allowed some kid to wear a Pentigram or Star and Cresent since liberals are such biggots against christians and christiman symbolism

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:14,

It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District )

Without trying to be insulting, your opinion of what :"should" occur is not the law of the land. People do not give up their rights - including the right of religious expression just because they cross a property line onto school property.

The school may impose some restrictions on complete expressions as Courts have recognized that speech and expression should not disrupt the education of others. Clearly a child or even a teacher wearing a cross is not a disruption. Kids talking about religion and even proselytizing on their own time such as before and after school as well as during lunch breaks and free periods is protected.

One should be leery of advocates who seem to wish to slowly whittle the rights of people away

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

Now you know why our public schools are so bad its becuase of the leftists NEA and the Dept of Education We need new faces in the Dept of Education and no one from the NEA and no Common Core

Anonymous said...

6:48 - Why do you pick on me and not 3:47 who was more or less saying what I said. You also agree with my main point as regards schools having the right to restrict expressions that may disrupt the education of others. Or are you argumentative for the sake of it?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:09,

You want to know why I commented on your post? This is why:

Well neither political/social or religious promotions should go on in schools.....

As I said while you may think what "should" happen in schools, that is not the law of the land. In fact, the cited Tinker case was about some kids who wore a black armband to school in protest of the VIetNam war. Their protest was political in nature - something that you think should not be allowed in schools.

And then their is this:

so long as it doesn't involve verbal promotion of their significance (and if asked, then explained as not relevant in the school environment).

So if a kid wears a cross, you don't think they have the right to explain what that cross means? You think that schools can tell kids what to think and do at all times during the day? You think that kids can't answer questions because they are "outside of the approved curriculum?"

They can't. Despite what you want and think should happen, people - even teachers - don't lose their rights because they cross the property line of a school.

There is a huge difference in what your point is and what mine is. You start out by banning things and then look for exceptions. I start out from the point if the speech and expression is legal and Constitutional until if crosses a line.

Your position seems to attack the rights of people. Mine supports people's rights.

Anonymous said...

3:33 you seem to enjoy making a bigger issue out of 2:14's comment than is in any way warranted - even to the extent of setting up "strawmans". And your last sentence is the worst!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:38,

I apologize if you think that people who are against the rights of people should not be commented upon.

Funny that you are making such a claim this site.

As I said, there is a difference in the two positions of rights existing and then being limited and rights only being granted. That's a big deal and not a strawman at all.

Anonymous said...

4:14 AM You willfully misrepresent somebody's position, and try to make yourself out to be a champion of human rights - pathetic!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder to what extent 4:14 would uphold the right of islamist-supporting students in a US school to provoke aggressive discussions which the school felt would likely lead to a great deal of disruption in the school; and what the school's rights were to take steps to prevent it in the first place. 4:14/3:33 may claim to "support people's rights", but rights and freedoms are not open-ended even in the Constitution or there would be social chaos.

Anonymous said...

Rights go with responsibilities, and no rights can negate another person's rights, such as someone's wish to promote their personal religious/political views at a school, and another's wish not to hear about it at an institution intended for a different purpose. In the end there has to be compromise - "Your liberty to swing your fists ends just where my nose begins"!!

Unknown said...

This is the ultimate goal of the gay mafia, to have easy access to their primary target; children. They want to teach kids the homosexuality is "normal" and "beautiful" so they can convince them to have sex with them!

Pedophilia is rampant in the radical homosexuality community!