It’s only a Federal Magistrate’s recommendation, but I really dislike the reasoning:
Plaintiff maintains that according to School District policy, practice, or custom (“the policy”), School District teachers, faculty and administrators are permitted to display in their classrooms and offices various personal messages. Plaintiff has interpreted the policy as permitting the display in her classroom of several quotations from the Bible, as well as several other statements containing the word “God,” and a picture of three crosses on a hill [among many non-religious items].
By letter to CCSD Superintendent of Schools Dennis Kane (“Kane”), dated June 7, 2012, one Rebecca S. Markert (“Markert”), Staff Attorney with the Freedom from Religion Foundation (“FFRF”), advised it was in receipt of a complaint from a High School student (“complainant”), regarding Plaintiff’s posting of a Bible verse, and a drawing of three crosses on the wall near the complainant’s desk.
Kane directed Plaintiff to immediately remove the religious materials identified by Kane.
[B]ecause the School District “has a strong, perhaps compelling interest, in avoiding Establishment Clause violations, it may proscribe” conduct that risks giving the impression the School District endorses religion. … “A school risks violation of the Establishment Clause if any of its teachers’ activities gives the impression that the school endorses religion.”
What I dislike about this, which I don’t think I’ve misrpresented by truncation, is that it gives extremists like the Freedom From Religion Foundation a heckler’s veto. If they got “the impression that the school endorses religion” from this teacher’s action, the school can, and perhaps must, shut the teacher down.
By the way: the school freely allows gay pride displays.
(H/T Religion Clause)
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)