Sarah Fowler – member of the Ohio State Board of Education from District 7
The Ohio State Board of Education, although not as bad as some state boards like in Kansas, has had it share of religious conservatives. Most of the time these people try to push a religious agenda into the public schools like creationism. A member from North East Ohio tried to get the board involved in the issue of transgendered people using public school bathrooms. It makes me wonder how someone who distrusts the government so much would want to work for it
Obvious violations of the first amendment in public schools can include a sign with an obvious religious message, a teacher proselytizing, or a school promoted event sponsored by a religious group that includes a sermon or prayer. There are, however, many smaller violations going on all the time that might be harder to see or stop. It takes all of us, checking into our local schools, to police these minor violations and to educate people about the 1st amendment.
Genoa (OH) High School Principal Cari Buehler
This week the Genoa Ohio Local Schools removed an obvious religious sign posted in the High School that demanded the viewer to ‘Follow Christ’. Thanks to the work of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) the district was reminded of its obligation to church and state separation and acted accordingly. It seems that the High school principal missed the point.
Religious Message wall sign similar to one seen in Genoa OH High School
While watching local TV news on March 21st, during a story about a Genoa Ohio high school student who died in a traffic accident, the station reporter interviewed Cari Buehler, the high school principal, in front of a sign with an ‘inspirational’ message on it. Too bad it was a religious message. Now the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is asking the school district to remove the sign.
Ohio House of Represenatives in session. Photo by Joshua Rothaas
Used with permission.
In Ohio, Substitute HB 425, also known as the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act seems to codify rights in state law that public school students currently enjoy from the 1st amendment of the US Constitution and that have been affirmed through various court cases over the years. Why would a GOP majority seem to want to protect religious freedom for students? To give cover to discriminate and bully LGBT students of course.
Last week I posted about a letter the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent to the President of the University of Toledo complaining about the head football coach Matt Campbell being seen, in a video, leading a prayer before a game in 2012. The Toledo Blade published an editorial, on May 29th, supporting Coach Campbell and I had a letter to the editor published responding to their wrong conclusion.