How the hell does this happen?
Bradley Johnson, a math teacher at Westview High School in the Poway Unified School District in California — a public school system — had put up banners in the classroom advocating his faith.
The banners are about 7 feet wide and 2 feet tall. One has the phrases “In God We Trust,” “One Nation Under God,” “God Bless America” and “God Sheds His Grace On thee.”
A second reads “All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed By Their Creator,” with the last word in uppercase letters.
Clearly, that’s what you want to see in a math classroom.
The school rightfully told him to take those banners down. There’s no reason a teacher should be pushing his faith — making students feel uncomfortable in the process — in a public school classroom. What’s a non-Christian student supposed to think? Can they get a fair shake in his class?
Lawsuits were filed. The judge issued the verdict on Friday:
Judge Roger Benitez said teacher Bradley Johnson is entitled to a declaration that his First Amendment rights were violated by the Poway Unified School District.
He also said in a ruling Friday that Johnson should get damages of $10 ?from each of nine officials he named in a lawsuit filed in 2007.
Benitez also ordered the district to allow Johnson to rehang the banners in his classroom.
Benitez said the district allows other teachers to post things on a variety or religious and nonreligious topics without penalty.
He said the action against Johnson amounted to discriminating against a particular point of view, which courts have long said is not permitted.
I’m not a lawyer. Someone please explain to me how this makes any sense.
***Update***: Here is the judge’s ruling (PDF).
To me, it’s opening a can of worms. Any teacher in the district can now put up signs/banner/posters indicating their faith in their classroom.
This school district has a problem — and many more potential lawsuits — on their hands.
I wonder if the same verdict would have been issued if the banners read: “There is no God,” “God
Bless AmericaN” or “One Nation Indivisible”…
I guess that test may happen before long now that’s it’s legal to do so.
This only serves to harm the students. Johnson is more interested in proselytizing his faith than teaching his subject. And Judge Benitez is an accomplice in letting him continue.
(Thanks to Ben for the link)