News

Judge’s harsh lesson for US school district

Judge’s harsh lesson for US school district

Back in 2013, a lawsuit was filed against the Rankin County School District in Missippi for sponsoring student events that included religious proselytising.

In November 2014, the American Humanist Association, which filed the lawsuit, and school district officials, entered into a Consent Decree, which prohibited the district from exposing students to further religious shenanigans.

Despite this ruling, the school district then sponsored an award ceremony that included Christian prayers and sermons and subsequently promoted the distribution of Gideon Bibles to elementary students.

So it again found itself in trouble.

According to the AHA, US District Judge Carlton W Reeves issued an order on July 10 holding the school district in contempt, and permanently enjoined the school district from:

Including prayer or religious sermons in any school-sponsored event.

Now here comes the shocking bit. The school district claimed that the First Amendment violations that took place after the initial lawsuit arose out of  … sheer ignorance:

School officials are ill-equipped to understand the complexities of constitutional law.

According to Friendly Atheist Hermant Mehta:

In short, their defence was: ‘We’re too dumb to understand a simple concept that our lawyer could have explained to us in about a minute.’

Hell, I’ll do it again in one sentence: Don’t promote religion during school hours.

I gather from Mehta’s post that the the first lawsuit, brought on behalf of a Northwest Rankin High School student – Magdalene “Gracie” Bedi – cost the school district $15,000 in legal fees, and because of the later violations, it now owes Bedi $2,500 for forcing her to sit through a prayer during the awards ceremony, and an additional $5,000 because she exposed their Gideons “charade”.

Mehta added:

Wait! That’s not all! The District will have to pay her $10,000 every time they violate the law in the future.

Bedi, for the record, is not one of those “militant atheists” Christians are always banging on about. In explaining why she had originally instigated the lawsuit, she wrote:

I am not an angry atheist. As a matter of fact, I am not an atheist at all. I hold many Christian beliefs and values, and I do not mean to attack the religion or its message.

Instead, this is a case about our constitutional right to be free from the government promoting these religious beliefs. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being an atheist. In fact, my friend Alexis, who is bringing this lawsuit with me, is a humanist.

8 responses to “Judge’s harsh lesson for US school district”

  1. L.Long says:

    A bunch of LIARS4jesus caught lying about their knowledge of the law….or stupid people being stupid.
    Which do you prefer?

  2. AgentCormac says:

    If school officials are so ill-equipped they can’t understand constitutional law, how can they possibly be well-equipped enough to understand how the universe was created or what happens to us after we die? Can’t have it both ways.

  3. Robster says:

    That nasty old bible thingy is much, much harder to interpret than the US constitution. They all recon they can understand the childish nonsense in that silly old book but not the founding document of their country. Can’t say it’s surprising, these are people that find solace in cannibalising their decomposed deity and are convinced serpents are on for a chat.

  4. Gg says:

    At the rate they are going, they will have paid Gracie’s entire college tuition to whichever lucky school accepts her.

  5. Laura Roberts says:

    Sounds to me like the “school officials” are ill-equipped to be school officials.

  6. JohnMWhite says:

    “Don’t blame us, we’re incompetent!”

    Oh dear.

  7. dennis says:

    I understand low IQ, I call my self a simple nerd. what scares me is these people had my low IQ children in their formative years. what did I do to my own children except explain logic, reason, and science to them when they got home, but what about the 88% of religious parents in the bible belt. see for your self (rankin county school district ex.)