Atheist teacher sues Indiana school

Atheist teacher sues Indiana school

Meet Gerald Rasler, above, an Indiana high school principal who expects his staff to do silly Christian stuff – like like praying it won’t snow.

Well, Rasler is the central figure in a law suit filed last week against against the Middlebury (Indiana) School District by Kevin Pack, 29, a former German teacher at Northridge High School. He alleges that he was wrongfully fired because he’s an atheist, and wouldn’t submit to Rasler’s godly antics.

According to this report, Pack said:

I refused to pray, be a Christian or go along with any of (Rasler’s) evangelizing in the school, and they dismissed me over it.

However, school officials are saying that Pack’s poor teaching performance was the cause of his dismissal. In a press release issued last year after Pack was fired, school superintendent Janet Allen stated the following:

Tonight, the Board of School Trustees for Middlebury Community Schools, by a unanimous 4-0 vote, cancelled Northridge High School German teacher Kevin Pack’s probationary contract.

Middlebury Community Schools expects and demands that its teachers be proficient and try to do their best when educating our students. These efforts include effectively delivering lessons to students, conducting appropriate assessments, and timely grading.

The efforts also include making responsible choices about material provided or shown to students, treating fellow colleagues and students in a non-combative and respectful manner, attending appropriate meetings and conferences, participating in scheduled activities that benefit students’ educational development, and generally conducting themselves in a professional manner.

Most importantly, Middlebury Community Schools expects its teachers to place it students’ educational growth and needs as a first priority. Unfortunately, some teachers do not meet those expectations; Mr Pack was one of those teachers.

The press release further indicated that Pack was:

Merely a poor teacher, whose overall performance regressed throughout the school year and showed no potential for improvement.

Nevertheless, Pack maintains that he was fired from teaching at the Indiana school for criticising the principal’s “evangelizing” and for sending a mass email to faculty members notifying them of his atheism.

Rasler reportedly often mentioned faith-based activities in official faculty emails and announcements. In one email, Rasler reportedly encouraged his faculty to:

Get on your knees and pray for four good weather days during the finals.

Kevin Pack then replied:

I’m an atheist and a mystical sky daddy has nothing to do with weather, I won’t be kneeling.

This report adds that the lawsuit  provides several examples of Rasler’s behaviour:

• During a phone interview before he was hired, Rasler asked Pack about his religious beliefs and political leanings.

• Before breakfast or lunch was served during faculty meetings, Rasler asked teachers to take part in a Christian prayer. The prayers offended Pack, an atheist committed to the separation of church and state. Because he was a new hire, he didn’t feel he could openly challenge Rasler, but he declined to act as if he was praying, which Rasler noticed.

• In an email sent to all faculty, Rasler once asked teachers to pray it wouldn’t snow so that student testing wouldn’t be disrupted. In a reply to all recipients of the email, Pack, alluding to his atheism, said he would choose instead to rely upon the predictions of meteorologists.

Pack complained to the Human Resources department about the proselytising, and the corporation did, in fact, find that Rasler had engaged in proselytising conduct prohibited by law.

However, after the snow email, Pack began getting negative reviews and disciplinary warnings.  He was then fired by the school district last April. The school board provided a list of violations that were the cause of his firing, including things like showing an “inappropriate”  film to a class, even though it was in the prior teacher’s lesson plan.

The Indiana teachers union has refuted many of the school board’s findings, according to Pack’s lawyer.

Pack is now back in his home state of Nebraska.

15 responses to “Atheist teacher sues Indiana school”

  1. Broga says:

    Ah yes, it must have been his poor teaching. Should not the principal be fired for crazy beliefs leading to pupils praying and wasting their time asking a non existent god to interfere with the natural order for their convenience.

  2. Cali Ron says:

    Another example of christians being persecuted…er, oh, I guess it’s the atheist that’s being persecuted. Doesn’t exactly follow the “christians persecuted storyline”. Clearly, it’s the principal who should be fired because “Rasler had engaged in proselytising conduct prohibited by law”. Unfortunately, the school board is probably made up of evangelical christian who also should be fired.
    And these superstitious, vindicative fools are educating our children. This is one of the reasons American has been getting worse about separation of church and state.

  3. Robster says:

    The organised corporatised religions are only in schools to get more people in the pews, they’re not in it for the good of society, they’re in it for the good of themselves while appearing to be doing good work, which sadly has fooled many it seems. Why we (as in society) allow these silly god/jesus believers to teach our young people is a mystery. These godbots will tell students,with a straight face, that yes, donkeys and snakes can talk, they’ll tell the kids it’s quite normal to eat a weekly serve of dead Jesus and to drink the deceased deity’s blood too! These are people that really believe they’re talking to god/jesus,that foetus’ should be able to drive, that yes, virgins can get preggers and the rest of their much loved silly nonsense. I know it’s childish but it should be kept away from children. It seems contradictory having people that really believe this stuff educating our children.

  4. Newspaniard says:

    Nope. Sorry but I wouldn’t buy a second hand car from Rasler.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Looking around ‘tinternet, it appears that Bobby Rasler retired last May:

    He was obviously greatly respected in the local community, and a lashing of religiosity would have done him no harm in that respect!

  6. barriejohn says:

    Here’s the website of his church:

    We want to meet you where you are and help you grow in a meaningful relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. We are all people, just like you, who struggle and hurt as we face the daily pressures of life. We are also people who are experiencing the love and joy of serving Jesus Christ in our communities. We would like nothing more than to have you join us as we seek, learn, and grow together in our spiritual walks with God.

    If you have begun a relationship with God, knowing Him personally, the Bible promises:

    Christ comes into your life. Revelation 3:20

    You become a child of God. John 1:12

    Your sins are forgiven. Colossians 1:14

    You have eternal life. 1John 5:11-13

    You begin the adventure of knowing God personally. Philippians 3:8

    (My emphasis)

  7. barriejohn says:

    They are very keen on working with children and students from the local community (including Rasler’s school). I can’t imagine why!

  8. gedediah says:

    To be fair to the school, it’s possible Pack was both an annoying atheist and crap at his job. I guess the law suit will uncover whether the reasons for dismissal stated in his employment record were true and fair, and that the decision making process was fair.

  9. Cali Ron says:

    What would being an annoying atheists have to do with it. I’ve had to work with annoying christians and they never got fired for being annoying. From statements in the article it’s clear that the principal violated the rules, but the accusations against Pack were all subjective and none of them were violations of rules. There may be more to the story, but from what’s there they definitely fired him for not being christian, ie: atheists!

    Looking at the student ministries web site for the church brought back lots of memories and emotions of my teen indoctrination by evangelicals. Very unpleasant memories of being drawn in with fun activities and then the guilt trips and mind games begin, trying to turn you into good little godbots!

  10. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron:

    Looking at the student ministries web site for the church brought back lots of memories and emotions of my teen indoctrination by evangelicals. Very unpleasant memories of being drawn in with fun activities and then the guilt trips and mind games begin, trying to turn you into good little godbots!

    “Fun, food and fellowship!”

    I have the exact same emotional response, and it’s quite scary. Sadly, I was sucked in, and they ruined my life. We engaged in all the same sort of activities – with only one end in view, as you point out. Did you glance at their children’s ministries page? It’s all very familiar to some of us:

  11. Cali Ron says:

    The “your child’s safety”part was especially amusing. Whose going to protect your child from them?

    I was lucky that I’m such a rebel and quit the church after high school, but it took me 20 more years to fully come to terms with it. Initially I thought I had walked away clean, but later realized that I had lots of emotional issues and garbage to sort through. Growing up is hard enough without having to deal with all the baggage of religion. Glad were both “recovered christians”, or “survivors of christianity” now!

  12. barriejohn says:

    Christians would never harm children!

  13. Robster says:

    barriejohn says that christians would never harm children, probably only offer them some boiled lollies and you know what.

  14. J. May says:

    I have a message for you Gerald Rasler.There has been
    a million billion trillion prayers,and not one answered
    I think that is enough evidence that there is no sky fairy
    So Gerald, take my advice and check yourself into a psychiatric
    clinic.I wonder if he believes doing a rain dance will make
    it rain.

    P.S I cant believe this guy is a school principal

  15. Joey says:

    Please know that Jesus Loves You. Even though “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners, every single one of us, myself included. Let’s see if that’s true. Have you ever lied (even once)? Ever stolen anything ? If you said yes to those two questions you are a lying thief, and that’s only two of the Ten Commandments. How will you do on Judgment Day? You know that you will be guilty. “For the wages of sin is death (we are all on our way to hell, forever), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God does NOT want us to end up in Hell, a place of eternal torment and suffering (Not parties). We can all have eternal life on the new, perfect earth with no pain and no suffering forever. “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus took our punishment for our sins. And for those of you who wish to continue to deny God, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” One other thing to remember, our time is short. We are living in the End Times and He will be back soon.