Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in our case of student versus teacher. Our client, Chad Farnan, was a sophomore in a high school Advanced Placement European History class, when he had to endure almost daily statements from his teacher that Chad argued were an unconstitutional attack on Christianity and religion, including the statement: “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.” A district court decided that one of the teacher’s statements was unconstitutional, as it expressed "an unequivocal belief that creationism is 'superstitious nonsense.’" Both parties appealed this case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned the district court’s decision and declared that the teacher involved had qualified immunity – meaning that, since there was no clear precedent of a teacher being held liable for his or her statements expressing disapproval of religion, this teacher could not have known that his statements would be unconstitutional.
We then appealed this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, in hopes that they would reconsider the case and provide a final decision in this landmark, precedent-setting case. However, they have decided not to hear our appeal.
We are disappointed that the highest Court in our nation will not hear this important case, and we agree with Douglas Laycock, a constitutional scholar at the University of Virginia School of Law, who was quoted last year in the Orange County Register:
"They can't hold the teacher liable because the law was not clearly settled. Because they can't hold him liable, the law will never become clear on what teachers can say in class."
Please join us in prayer as we continue to work in defense of the religious and individual freedoms of our students!
This information is provided by Advocates for Faith & Freedom, a non-profit religious law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty in the courts! To help us in our ongoing battle for religious freedom, click here to donate to Advocates.