Colorado student sues over school’s religious agenda
A Colorado school that was awash with religious propaganda is being sued by a former pupil, Cidney Fisk, above, who claims that she was discriminated against for a her atheistic views.
The lawsuit, launched yesterday against the Delta County Joint School District No 50 claims that teachers gave the A-student a failing grade and sabotaged her college applications because of her opposition to religious proselytising in the public school.
According to this report, Fisk is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for economic losses, emotional distress and humiliation.
During her senior year in 2015-16, Fisk had a 4.1 grade point average, was captain of the school’s speech and debate team, student body treasurer and a reporter on the student magazine, the Delta Paw Print.
But her opposition to teachers, school board members and administrators, who she claims espoused religious views in school settings and meetings put her at odds with them, the lawsuit says.
For example, school board member Kathy Svenson, a Bible camp teacher, once stated her Christian belief at a school board meeting that:
Transgender students should be castrated.
When Fisk and other students wore costumes in 2014 in opposition to state Amendment 67, which sought “personhood” status for foetuses, a teacher told her to take the costume off because:
God gave babies life and abortion is murder.
When Fisk questioned the principal and other school administrators about the legality of having a faith-based instructor speak about sex education at a mandated school assembly, she was told the religious tones would not hurt anybody, the lawsuit says.
For a decade, the school has paid Shelly Donahue who teaches abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancy, the lawsuit says. Donahue’s website says she is:
Passionately committed to Jesus Christ as the ultimate answer to the teen sexual activity problem in America.
Earlier this year Donahue was barred from public schools in Oklahoma for laying her idiotic view on youngsters.
Fisk and friends wore T-shirts before the presentation that said “I prefer science,” and “I abstain from ideology.”
The lawsuit says:
Ms. Donahue’s presentation at the school was expressly and overtly faith-based, religious in content and tone.
It lacked medically accurate information about contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. She told students that sex before marriage “puts you further from God” and compared girls who have premarital sex to dirty diapers.
Fisk wrote an article for The Paw Print that was critical of the presentation.
When John Miller, her government teacher, invited a Navy Seal to speak about drug abuse and his book, Seal of God, which mentioned his religious conversion, Fisk asked him:
Pointed questions about his qualifications.
Miller later reprimanded her and changed her grade from a 98 to a 70, the lawsuit says.
Fisk received death threats before and after she was quoted in an April 1, 2016, Daily Sentinel article about her opposition to a middle school programme called “Donuts with Dan,” in which a teacher gave students doughnuts and Gideon Bibles. When Fisk reported the threats to the principal, nothing happened.
After the article was published, Miller dropped Fisk’s grade in his class to an F. She then spoke with Miller and the principal. Both told her repeatedly that her grade was a consequence of her comments in the newspaper. They told her if she wanted her grades to rise, she should “shut up.”
The principal barred Fisk from giving a graduation speech even though it was a school tradition that student council officers give speeches, the lawsuit says. Although her GPA qualified her for the National Honor Society programme school, officials denied her that opportunity. Bad reviews by school officials also hurt her chances for scholarships and acceptance at two colleges, she claimed.
Fisk was hospitalised and suffered two anxiety attacks as a result of her experiences at school, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says:
Defendants retaliated upon plaintiff Fisk, threatened, punished and censored her, for expressing her opinions on religion, abortion, sex education, and drug education in an attempt to chill, deter and restrict (her) from freely expressing her opinions.
The school district narrowly avoided a court case last year when the Freedom From Religion Foundation intervened to stop the distribution of Gideon Bibles. School officials came to an agreement with the FFRF that books and pamphlets promoting other, non-Christian views would be offered in the same manner the Gideon Bibles
On April 1, 2o16, publications including The Satanic Children’s BIG BOOK of Activities, Why Jesus? and Top 10 Public School-State Church Violations and How to Stop Them were given free to students at middle and high schools.