Louisiana School Hit with Major Church/State Suit

Louisiana School Hit with Major Church/State Suit December 21, 2017

It’s not unusual to find entire public school districts, especially in Louisiana, where a concerted effort is made to promote Christianity in every way imaginable. One of them, the Webster Parish School District, has now been hit with a lawsuit, filed be a devout Baptist parent, over a variety of clear violations.

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The lawsuit details more than 30 specific incidents of allegedly unconstitutional use of religion in schools, including science teachers calling evolution a “fairy tale,” teachers waving a Bible at students while criticizing a card game, and teachers punishing or criticizing students who refused to participate in classroom prayers…

More allegations from Cole’s lawsuit:

  • When Kaylee was a first-grader at Central Elementary School in Webster Parish,  a teacher grabbed a boy’s shirt and pushed him into the hallway because the student sat down when a Christian prayer was read over the school’s PA system.
  • In 2011, Ana Cole-Lopez and other students witnessed two teachers at Central Elementary, Kim Austin and Donna Strickland, telling students that the card game “Magic: The Gathering” was “against the Bible” and “of the Devil.” One of the teachers waved a Bible at the students.
  • Then-Lakeside Principal and now Webster Superintendent Johnny Rowland is alleged to have told Kaylee and Ana’s father, Michael Simpson, in 2014 that he refused to stop daily prayers at school. “I will stop when someone makes me stop,” Rowland allegedly said.
  • Current Lakeside Principal Denny Finley expressed anti-Muslim sentiments while teaching an American History class in 2015.
  • Christian rapper Mynista has been invited to Lakeside three of the past four years to perform at an assembly or pep rally. The rapper encouraged students to turn to God as their inspiration. Student attendance was mandatory.
  • Students harassed Kaylee for sitting during a morning prayer. A classmate called Kaylee her names and another mocked her by saying “Devil, be rid of me!” Her teacher did not stop the mocking.
  • In 2013, Garth Owens, Kaylee’s teacher at Central Elementary, slapped a Bible on Kaylee’s desk and suggested that the work should be taken literally. Kaylee asked another student how the Bible could be literally when it mentions unicorns in several verses. Owens allegedly became furious and told Kaylee the Bible did not mention Unicorns. (In the King James translation, a unicorn or unicorns are mentioned in nine places in the Bible, according to biblegateway.com.)

“I will stop when someone makes me stop.” I suspect that’s about to happen, Mr. Rowland. The family is taking an incredible risk here. I guarantee you that there will be harassment, intimidation and death threats, at bare minimum. And if the past is any guide, they may also face serious violence. Like racial hegemony, religious hegemony can only respond to being challenged with barbarism.

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