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|NUMBER 226||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||NOVEMBER 2004|
Teacher Wins Suit to Lead |
After-School Bible Lessons
A teacher has the constitutional right to lead after-school Bible classes offered in the school where she works, a federal appeals court ruled in September.
"Does a school's concern for avoiding accusations of establishment of religion justify inhibiting the free speech and association rights of employees after work hours when the relevant activity takes place on school property?" the 8th Circuit opinion asks. "In this case, we do not believe so."
The plaintiff, a South Dakota elementary-school teacher, sued because of a district policy barring employees from participating in religious activities on school grounds. The lower court permitted her participation in Good News Club meetings at other public schools but not at the one where she taught. On appeal, she won a total victory. She was represented by Liberty Counsel.
The Supreme Court in 2001 held that after-school religious groups must have the same access to public schools as other clubs.