Lora Jane Riedas, a Florida teacher at Hillsborough County Public School, has reportedly banned three students so far from wearing a cross necklaces, symbolizing Christianity, to her class.
A non-profit litigation group has taken an interest in the situation, and sent a letter to the school’s superintendent, Jeff Eakins, explaining the wrong-doings of Riedas.
The letter claims that Riedas intentionally violated the student’s rights, as well as pushed the LGBTQ’s agenda.
Liberty Counsel said, “We write on behalf of parents of children in the classroom of teacher Lora Jane Riedas, a math teacher at Riverview High School, who report that Ms. Riedas has prohibited at least three children from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming on occasion that they are ‘gang symbols.”
To deny a student from wearing a cross necklace could be considered an infringement on their first amendment rights to freedom of religion and of speech.
The counsel continued, “One of our student clients reports that she had just sat down in class, and placed her books on her desk, when Ms. Riedas approached her. Referencing the tiny cross necklace which was around the student’s neck, Ms. Riedas said, “I need you to take your necklace off.” When the student asked why, Riedas allegedly refused to explain and then stated, “That’s disrespectful; you have to take it off. The student “did not want to be disrespectful, so she took it off, but she felt bad because she felt she was being forced to deny her faith. All of our clients are afraid to openly wear their cross necklaces in class any more.”
Here is an excerpt of the letter, farther down:
In banning cross necklaces from three different students in her classroom, Ms. Riedas has “intentionally violate[d] or den[ied] a student’s legal rights.” The right to wear a cross necklace is clearly established. There is no question that students have the right to wear religious jewelry, despite any specious claim of “gang affiliation” by Ms. Riedas. Subsequent to her cross ban, Ms. Reidas has subjected at least one of the students “to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement,” in singling the student out for false allegations of student behavior violations. In her numerous promotions of homosexuality in the classroom, including GLSEN’s “guide” she has indicated an intent to “intentionally . . . distort subject matter” which is beyond the scope of classroom instruction. In the cross ban and subsequent harassment, Ms. Riedas has violated the prohibition on harassment or discrimination “against any student on the basis of …religion . . . political beliefs . . . or social and family background.” The same holds true for any of the activities from GLSEN’s “guide” which she plans to foist upon the students, as well as the final prohibition on “exploit[ing] a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage,” in that she holds a position of power over students, and is using that to push her own politically activist LGBT beliefs upon them.
What do you think? Does a teacher have the right to deny the students of wearing a cross necklace?