Let’s do what we can to prevent this from happening again.
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Pensacola, FL – Following Judge M. Casey Rodgers’ ruling late Friday evening, which denied the request for intervention by Christian Educators Association International (CEAI).
During testimony in December, Michelle Winkler broke down on the witness stand when describing how a coworker sought comfort from her after losing her two-year-old child. The two hid behind a closet door to pray because they feared the consent decree. Denise Gibson, an elementary teacher for 20 years, testified the order forces her to tell parents she cannot respond if they talk about church or their faith. She may not even respond to an email from a parent if it contains a Scripture verse or “God bless you.” Instead, the District requires her to open a separate email to respond rather than hit “reply,” in order to eliminate any trace of religious language. School employees are prohibited from “communication with a deity” when in their “official capacity.” They are considered to be in their “official capacity” even when not working – whenever they attend a “school event,” which includes events during the day, including breaks, after-school events on or off campus, and privately sponsored events on campus for students. Employees cannot bow their head or fold their hands and must prohibit others from praying, even in meetings such as Good News Clubs or privately sponsored baccalaureate services. The ACLU has dragged three employees to court already, yet, Judge Rodgers states there is no “chill” on free speech.