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Cheektowaga Teacher Suing District Over Religious Items in Classroom

5:46 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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  • Joelle Silver, Photo: Cheektowaga Central
    

BUFFALO, NY--  A Cheektowaga teacher is suing the district for allegedly telling her to remove religious items from her classroom or face being fired.

A lawsuit was filed in Federal Court on behalf of the teacher, Joelle Silver, by the American Freedom Law Center (AFLCs).

WEB EXTRA: Click here to read the lawsuit

Silver, a high school teacher at Cheektowaga Central, claims she was forced last year by school officials to remove a poster of an American flag with a bible verse on it, as well as notes on her desk with scripture.

Robert Muise, Silver's attorney and co-founder of the AFLC says, "This is one of the most egregious examples of religious hostility I have witnessed in a public school. Ms. Silver does not cease being a Christian nor does she shed her constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate."

Silver declined to do an interview with us, deferring to the AFLC to speak on her behalf.

Dennis Kane, Superintendent of Schools for Cheektowaga Central, tells 2 On Your Side the district recieved a very specific complaint last spring from a group called Freedom from Relgion based out of Madison, Wisconsin. The organization was contacted by a student who did not want their identity disclosed to school officials.

Kane said the district, along with legal counsel and their insurance company, took a great deal of time and care deciding how to respond, going so far as to consult a constitutional expert before sending a letter to Ms.Silver.

The Superintendent described Silver as a "very good" teacher, who remains on the job. However, he did say the items in question have been removed.

 

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