Update on legal letter

Ok, here’s an update on my post from yesterday (which apparently is getting spread all over hell and creation – see this comment in Jezebel for why I get paid the big [by activist standards] bucks).

Upon sending the school my letter, the person who sent the letter to the SSA responded to me and his principal.  It was…lacking.  I cannot post it yet, maybe never.  That all depends (more on that in a moment).  It was also full of easily detectable lies.

 

Yesterday I got a call from the HR manager in the district.  She said they needed until Wednesday to get a review from their lawyers.  That was reasonable, so I granted it.  If their lawyers are smart, they will inform the district of just how screwed they are.  However, this is in a pretty conservative area, so who knows what will happen.  The HR person also said something that made me think they might try to fight this.

HR Person:  It’s important to remember that [TEACHER] has his first amendment rights too.

Me:  *pause out of shock*  Yes, he does.  He also has the right to remain silent, which I suggest you encourage him to use.  He is, of course, free to use his first amendment right to free speech to tell me all the ways he’s breaking the law, but that is not in the favor of [SCHOOL NAME].

She responded by telling me their lawyers had it and they’d get back to me on Wednesday.

So, what happens if they decide to fight (or if they jerk me around)?  In short, I will attempt to make this teacher into the school’s new mascot.  I will do my damndest to make sure every available eye is pointed at this school watching them defend the bad guy.  I will also post names and email addresses and count on you, my lovelies, to ensure they are spread far and wide.

So hang tight everybody, and I will keep you as updated as I can.

Here’s the take home from this: easily, over half the high school groups that try to form experience some form of administrative resistance.  I could post a couple letters just like this one per week until the fall semester, and then post another couple a week during that time.  The secular movement is just now getting to a place where we can even do a shitty job of monitoring these situations.  We only become aware of an infinitesimal fragment of all the discrimination aimed at high school atheists.  We’re growing though, and this is the start of things getting better.

What can you do?  Obviously donate.  That’s the easy one.  But you can also spread the word.  Know a high school atheist?  Tell them it can get better.  Tell them they’re not the only ones out there.  Tell them they can stake out a place in their school for the nonbelievers, and that we can help.  They just have to tell us so we know where they are.

I long for the day when it no longer makes sense for me to be employed.  That’s what I’m working toward.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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