Religious liberties group files complaint against Hillsborough County teacher
An Orlando-based religious liberties group has filed a complaint against a Hillsborough County high school teacher, accusing her of denying student rights to religious expression while promoting an LGBT agenda.
In a letter to Hillsborough schools superintendent Jeff Eakins, the Liberty Counsel alleges that Riverview High math teacher Lora Jane Riedas barred at least three students from wearing Christian crosses on necklaces in her classroom, claiming they are "gang symbols."
The organization also claims Riedas takes part in LGBT political activism in the classroom.
"Ms. Riedas clearly seeks opportunities to engage in GLSEN-directed classroom activism, which has called on teachers to use its "Educator Guide" to promote GLSEN's views about homosexuality and gender confusion on "Day of Silence," and to do so this Friday, April 21, 2017," Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver wrote in his letter.
He accuses the teacher of violating several district policies and state rules on ethical behavior and political activities. And he demands that Eakins put a stop to the behavior.
"School officials have no business in intentionally interfering with parent-approved religious jewelry, or in promoting their pet political ideologies during instructional time to a captive audience," Staver wrote. "The Hillsborough County School District is hereby on notice that any further violations of student rights in this fashion will be viewed by Liberty Counsel as sufficient to support a federal lawsuit for
civil rights violations."
Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for the school district, said Eakins had received the letter and contacted Riverview High's principal to begin an investigation.
"However, the principal says she has not received a complaint from any student or parent regarding any claims made in the Liberty Counsel document regarding this teacher," Arja said.