September 28, 2011
Teacher Placed on Administrative Leave for Punishing Christian Student
Last week, high school freshman Dakota Ary was given in-school suspension for telling another student that he believes homosexuality is wrong because of his Christian faith. Western Hills High School teacher, Kristopher Franks, is responsible for his suspension and has now been placed on administrative leave with pay. Liberty Counsel is representing Dakota in this case, demanding full vindication and a full retraction of the suspension.
Dakota was in Franks’ German language class on Tuesday when the topic of homosexuality arose. Dakota said to one of his classmates, “I'm a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong.” Franks overheard the comment, wrote Dakota an infraction, and sent him to the principal’s office. During the discussion, one student asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion. These questions provoked the conversation about Christianity and Dakota’s expression of his opinion to one classmate.
The discipline referral form says the comment was out of context, even though the lesson for the day was on religious beliefs. Franks charged Dakota with “possible bullying” and indicated, “It is wrong to make such a statement in public school.” Two weeks prior to this event, Franks displayed a picture of two men kissing on a “World Wall” and told his students that homosexuality is becoming more prevalent in the world and that they should just accept it. Many of the students were offended by the Franks’ actions and his continually bringing up the topic of homosexuality in a German language class.
After Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to the school and then met with school officials, the school district reversed the in-school suspension and placed Franks on administrative leave with pay. We are pleased with the school’s response thus far. The teacher clearly crossed the line and should apologize publically to Dakota. It is intolerable for the teacher to ridicule the religious beliefs of students in front of class. This teacher should not force his views about homosexuality upon students. Teachers cannot use their position to bully students and humiliate them in front of their peers.
Read our News Release for more details.
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From the hallway to the classroom, from personal notes to final exam reports, from praying around the flagpole to praying before lunch, from wearing a cross to carrying a Bible, or from an after-school Bible study club to a graduation speech, students have the right to express their faith at school.
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