Student Whose Article About Atheist Discrimination was Banned from School Newspaper Gets $1,000 Award from FFRF

On Thursday, news broke that Krystal Myers, a high school student from Tennessee, had her opinion piece about discrimination against atheists banned from her school’s newspaper.

Krystal Myers (Adam Brimer - News Sentinel)

Two updates:

Today, the Knoxville News Sentinel (the paper that broke the story in the first place) published the article that the school banned. The editors are thereby giving it more exposure than her high-school paper would’ve offered and that benefits everybody. Thanks, Streisand Effect!

Also, yesterday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation found a way to thank her for standing up for her non-religious beliefs:

They announced that Krystal will be the recipient of a student activist award worth $1,000 — they’ll formally announce it on their website tomorrow.

Krystal will join a fantastic group of young atheist activists. Last year alone, the award (and money) was given to: Jessica Ahlquist, Harrison Hopkins, Dylan Galos, Duncan Henderson, Damon Fowler, and Sarah McNair.

Not bad company at all :)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Adi Rule

    Good for her, and good for the Knoxville News Sentinel. I was happy to see  that many of the comments are surprisingly civil and supportive. Of course, there will always be the, “If you don’t believe in god, why does prayer offend you?” line, which makes me want to claw my eyes out. If I weren’t so darned passive and lazy, I’d create an account and say something pithy.

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      And done in one.

  • starskeptic

    This kind of thing is typical for the KNS – best opinion section in an American newspaper, Ever. 

  • http://twitter.com/Skeptical_Lady Question Everything

    I would be cool to see her at the Reason Rally.

  • Anonymous

    Oh the irony. She wanted to publish an article on atheist discrimination, only to be discriminated against.

  • Anon29

    This type of thing happens all across Tennessee especially in the more rural areas. Teachers and administrators make it perfectly clear what their religion is (Christian), football and basketball games begin with a prayer, and every day starts with “a moment of silence” aka a moment of prayer. 

    I was constantly pressured by other students to become “saved” and never did anyone step in and say it was inappropriate to pressure me in that manner.  All the way until I graduated the 8th grade (2001) we did the Pledge of Allegiance including “under God”. We did not do that in high school but every morning everyone gathered at the flag pole for a silent prayer. When I graduated high school I was given a Bible in the school colors that was engraved with the school name and “class of 2005″. It was technically a gift from a couple of churches but it was fully endorsed by the school and wasn’t optional.

    I applaud Myers for challenging the lack of separation of church and state in Tennessee. It is certainly a problem. 

    Christianity has even completely taken over my online college courses from a Tennessee university. Scripture has been quoted by students on the message board in my sociology classes and instructors never step in or say anything.

    • Atchantga

      Anon, post scripture about murder and slavery on the board.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mgdupille Marc Gregory du Pille

    A further update from Krystal:  ”
    Hey everybody, I just wanted to let you know that at the last school board meeting, there was no prayer. I also learned today that one of the teachers in my article has been dismissed. I do not know if that is why, but I suspect so”.

    It seems that this was the  religious T-shirt wearing one who was encouraging students to sign up to religious groups and 
    was also promoting her religious views in other ways that were outlined specifically in a letter to the school from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

    So a positive result, it appears.


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