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Principal to teacher: You can't be in church if your students are there

A school principal in the Midwest ordered a teacher not to attend church because two students from the school also attended the local congregation.

The non-profit Liberty Counsel, which represents the teacher, is withholding the identity of the school, the principal and the teacher.

The group said it is protecting the rights of “a Midwest teacher” after a principal “ordered the teacher not to attend a church event that two students were also attending, even though they all attend the same church.”

That’s a plain violation of the First Amendment, Liberty Counsel contends.

“Unfortunately, this was not the first incident. A year ago, this same principal tried to prevent the teacher from leading an after-school, adult-led Bible club which met with parent permission, under the same terms the Scouts meet,” Liberty Counsel explained.

“After the teacher was prevented from leading the club, a student sought to lead it as a student-led club. Even this was not allowed by the principal, so the teacher contacted Liberty Counsel.

The legal group said it intervened in both instances, charging the principal violated the First Amendment.

Last year, Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to the district superintendent, who responded by reversing the principal. This year, only a phone call was necessary to obtain a prompt reversal of the principal’s orders.

“The superintendent correctly reversed the principal’s decision to ban teachers from attending the same church events as students,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel.

“Teachers acting in their individual capacity after school have the same rights as any others who are not teachers.”