November 28, 2012

Teacher Writes ‘You Can’t Be A Democrat & Go To Heaven’ On Chalkboard

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (CBS) – A complaint has been filed against a teacher accused of writing anti-Democrat rhetoric on her classroom chalkboard.

“You can't be a Democrat & go to heaven,” the board of South Laurel High School teacher Kendra Baker read earlier this month, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The message reportedly went up one week after the Nov. 6 presidential elections.

Mother Mary Gilbert, whose daughter Chelsea is in Baker’s psychology class, told the paper that she filed a formal complaint with the state’s Education Professional Standards Board.

"I feel like she was bullied by a teacher," she explained.

Doug Bennett, the superintendent for Laurel County schools, said the school addressed the issue with the teacher directly, though he declined to confirm Baker’s name or extrapolate on the consequences of her actions.

"She realizes it's inappropriate," he told the paper of their conversation with the teacher.

According to the Kansas City Star, Baker also apologized to Chelsea, but added that she thought Chelsea could take a joke.

Gilbert is reportedly dissatisfied with the outcome, as Baker is reportedly still in the classroom.

Chelsea Gilbert – who told the Herald-Leader that she supported President Obama – additionally claimed that Baker made comments in class about same-sex marriage. She said she told Baker that she was offending students in the class, some of whom are gay. According to the Star, the exchange brought Chelsea to tears.

Following the incidents, Gilbert removed her daughter from the school, and will teach her from home for the remainder of her senior year, the Star additionally learned.

"She's going to miss a lot," Gilbert noted.

The Kentucky Equality Federation, a gay rights and equality group in the state, released a statement blasting Baker's actions.

"The School Superintendent reprimanded the Laurel County teacher, citing that she broke with policy regarding the environment of the classroom and we thank Superintendent Doug Bennett for his swift action," KEF president Jordan Palmer was quoted as saying in a press release on the organization's website.

"Kentucky Equality Federation contends the objective of such a message was to scare children into thinking a certain ideology by damaging the thought process, scaring the Commonwealth’s youth, introducing partisan politics in the classroom, imposing one-sided views on the classroom and generally directing the students into confined thinking."

Palmer added, "Regardless of the origin of the statement, the teacher had the greater responsibility to remain objective."

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November 21, 2012

Kentucky Equality Federation Stops School District Distributing Bibles

The Kentucky Equality Federation has stopped Bibles being given to middle school students in Grant County after the group was contacted by several parents who objected to it. Melissa Altman, one of the parents who contacted the group, stated that “My son was called out of his classroom and asked by men in business suits if they knew of the New Testament and were given Bibles. There is a time and place for this to occur, a public school is not [one of them]. I am a science major; I don’t believe every parent would appreciate me passing out copies of the ‘God Delusion’ written by Richard Dawkins to their children.”

KEF’s Jordan Palmer issued a warning to Grant County Schools’ Superintendent Ron Livingood stating that “This directly violates Kentucky laws and Kentucky Supreme Court decisions regarding the separation of Church and State. These people came into a school owned and funded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This action will cease immediately.”

Brandon Combs, the chairman of the Board of KEF stated that “In this situation, it is hard to gauge which occurrence is less acceptable; the allowance of Bibles to be passed out at a public school in violation of Kentucky law and past judicial precedent, or Superintendent Ron Livingood’s disregard for these same laws. Mr. Livingood has allowed for these individuals on school property to speak with students without proper authorization by parents and in violation of Kentucky law. At this point, the Kentucky Department of Education needs to step forward and take action to ensure all Grant County students are receiving equitable, safe, and high quality education within the confines of our legal system or we will take legal action.”

KEF went on to explain that:

Kentucky Equality Federation’s Religious Outreach Director, Minister Edith Baker, Ph.D. stated: “Here is the foundation of this matter; if Christians are ‘allowed to pass out Bibles,’ then all other religion and non religious groups, including the ‘Church of Satan’ will have this right. As a Christian believer since childhood, and an ordained minister, I believe we have enough homes, churches and other public venues to provide this service.”

However, at press time, only minutes after emailing Grant Count Superintendent Ron Livingood, legal representation for Grant County Schools, Don Ruberg, with the Law Offices of O’Hara, Ruberg, Taylor, Sloan & Sergent in Covington called Kentucky Equality Federation’s toll-free number indicating that the school had stopped, on the advice of counsel, the practice of allowing Bibles to be distributed on school property.

“On this one issue, we are all pleased that we could work together without the need for legal action,” stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. “Kentucky Equality Federation serves as public advocate for all citizens of the Commonwealth who suffer from discrimination, hate crimes, school bullying, or any other danger to our freedoms. I am a practicing Christian; I also practice the principles of Taoism. We all have our own religious beliefs and a public school is not the venue for religion.”

In a response to Kentucky Equality Federation, the parent responded: “Thank you so much for everything you do and standing up for everyone’s rights, Altman stated. “You work fast I contacted the right person thank you so very much. Wow! I could never have gotten anything done myself, thank you.”

Kentucky Equality Federation’s Vice President of Legal, Attorney Jillian Hall had no comment after the situation was diffused, nor did Kentucky Equality Federation’s other attorneys.

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