So here’s one I hadn’t heard before. It seems that Oklahoma State Senator Rob Standridge (he’s a Republican, of course) has introduced a bill to the legislature that would allow parents to sue any teacher who taught anything…anything at all…that offended the “closely held religious beliefs of students.”*
Oh, and just fyi, the minimum amount which a parent could demand in damages would be $10,000 per incident. Also, the teacher would have to pay that amount entirely from his or her own funds — no help from unions or outsiders — or face immediate termination.
In a word, oy.
I read about all this in the excellent publication, LGBTQNation, so you can guess what it is that Standridge objects to. He is greatly concerned, it seems, by teachers who might talk about being gay or lesbian or non-binary in class.
But, of course, his bill could and would empower a great many other suits. Creationists might, for instance, sue biology teacher who dared to bring Darwin into the conversation. Or, perhaps, someone with a religious objection to vaccines might have a beef with anyone mentioning Louis Pasteur. Or, well, you see where we’re headed…
And we haven’t even begun to ask what happens when some luckless history teacher has to give a lecture about, oh, you know, Muhammad or Buddha or Zoroaster.
All of which makes me suspect that while the immediate effect and intent of the bill is to criminalize the LGBTQ community, the longer term effect (and perhaps intent) of the bill would be to turn public schools into church schools…Protestant Church schools, and probably Fundamentalist Protestant Church schools at that…where the the high point of one’s education would be singing “Jesus loves me, this I know…” until you drop.
Which, I think, at least from the education I had, would be grossly unconstitutional.
But maybe I ought to be careful. After all, if you can sue teachers for $10K over nothing, imagine what the Religious Right would do to secular humanists with blogs.
Like, that is, me…
Source: “Oklahoma bill would fire teachers for offending Christian morals by teaching biology
The bill would allow parents to sue teachers for $10,000 ‘per incident, per individual.’ The fine would need to be paid by the teacher ‘from personal resources’ and the educator cannot ‘receive any assistance from individuals or groups’ or they'll be fired.” By Bil Browning Wednesday, LGBTQNation, February 2, 2022
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