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Complaint: Teacher made students remove Christian cross necklaces, called them ‘gang symbols’

A teacher in Orlando, Florida is under fire for allegedly forcing students to take off their Christian cross necklaces, and for “promoting an LGBT agenda” in class.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the Liberty Counsel organization sent a letter to Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins claiming that teacher Lora Jane Riedas “barred at least three students from wearing Christian crosses on necklaces in her classroom, claiming they are ‘gang symbols.'”

Riedas, a math teacher at Riverview High School, also engaged in gay rights political activism during class time, according to the complaint.

“Ms. Riedas clearly seeks opportunities to engage in GLSEN-directed classroom activism, which has called on teachers to use its ‘Educator Guide’ to promote GLSEN’s views about homosexuality and gender confusion on ‘Day of Silence,’ and to do so this Friday, April 21, 2017,” Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver wrote.

From the article:

[Staver] accuses the teacher of violating several district policies and state rules on ethical behavior and political activities. And he demands that Eakins put a stop to the behavior.

“School officials have no business in intentionally interfering with parent-approved religious jewelry, or in promoting their pet political ideologies during instructional time to a captive audience,” Staver wrote. “The Hillsborough County School District is hereby on notice that any further violations of student rights in this fashion will be viewed by Liberty Counsel as sufficient to support a federal lawsuit for civil rights violations.”

Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for the school district, said Eakins had received the letter and contacted Riverview High’s principal to begin an investigation.

Riedas’ lesbian partner also works at Riverview and dressed up as a nun for the school’s spirit week — with a cross composed of small skulls.

Liberty Counsel demands that Riedas cease “interfering with student religious expression, by banning cross necklaces,” and stop her LGBT activism during class. It also wants her replaced as staff advisor to the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

Sadly, Riverview’s principal says “she has not received a complaint from any student or parent regarding any claims made in the Liberty Counsel document.” As I mentioned regarding parent-teacher relationships, it’s best to contact the teacher first about an issue, followed by administration (if necessary).

If the Riverview principal’s statement is on the level, the parents of these students skipped both of those steps.

Read the full story.

h/t to EAGNews.org

MORE: Children should learn queer theory in elementary science class, argues prof

MORE: Public univ. went after Christian students for showing ‘bias,’ records show

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Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.