Monday, May 23, 2011

Freedoms Lost? - #2924 - New York City Teacher Claims She Was Harassed, Then Fired Over Her Christian Faith - The Blaze (2) Will New Education Regulations Endanger Your Child's Privacy - The Blaze (3) UPDATE: 5th Circuit Hears 'Outrageous' Appeal in 'Candy Cane Case' - Citizen Link

Anita Wooten-Franci, an assistant special education teacher at PS 224, claims that she was teased, harassed and then wrongfully terminated last June. While the school claims she was fired for allegedly grabbing a child, Wooten-Franci denies this charge and insists that her firing was based on her Christian beliefs. When it came to public displays of faith, the former assistant teacher says that she was careful not to influence her students, but that she did appropriately pray, listen to Christian music and lead a worship group during “non-instructional hours.” Wooten-Franci claims that the school’s principal — George Andrews — was vocal and often offensive about his dislike for her Christian beliefs. She says that Andrews would frequently make negative comments and that he told her, “You can’t be praying in my school.” The New York Post has more: In one instance, [the principal allegedly] criticized the disabled woman for using the elevator and told her to take the stairs. When she protested, he allegedly said, “Why don’t you just pray?” Then he laughed.  Read more.......

Will New Education Regulations Endanger Your Child's Privacy - The Blaze - Last month, the U.S. Department of Education issued a controversial proposal to amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA was signed into law in 1974 with the sole purpose of protecting students’ educational records. Now, the law is being dramatically altered in an effort that critics claim will endanger student privacy, while increasing the federal government’s access to and control over private information.  The Department of Education’s web site, describes FERPA as a Federal law that “…protects the privacy of student education records.” According to some advocates, proposed changes dramatically alter its intended purpose.  Under the law as it currently stands, parents have complete control over their children’s educational records. Once the child reaches 18 or continues an education beyond the high school level, these rights transfer to the student.  Read more.......

UPDATE: 5th Circuit Hears 'Outrageous' Appeal in 'Candy Cane Case - Citizen Link - Are children required to leave their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door?  That was the issue before the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans today.  School officials from Plano, Texas, maintain they were correct seven years ago, when they prevented 8-year-old Jonathan Morgan from handing out candy cane pens because they included a message about Jesus.  And two years earlier, when they confiscated pencils that read, ”Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”  And when they banned an entire class from writing “Merry Christmas” on cards to U.S. troops serving in Iraq.  The all-star legal team representing the students includes former Solicitors General Kenneth Starr and Paul Clement — who is defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act in court — as well as the Liberty Institute, a Texas policy group that is associated with CitizenLink.  Eight groups of diverse political views — including the American Civil Liberties Union — have filed briefs in support of the students.  Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of the Liberty Institute, said the court was listening intently. “Certainly the court thought it was very serious that they were arguing to take away the rights of all elementary school students,” he said. “They realized how outrageous and how dangerous that would be.”  Read more........

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