Sabine Parish Schools Settle Religious Freedom Lawsuit
Michelle Southern reporting.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana says it's settled a lawsuit with the Sabine Parish School district involving a Buddhist 6th grader who claimed he was the subject of harassment because of his religious beliefs.
Louisiana ACLU executive director Marjorie Esman says a science teacher at the school told students God created the earth.
"The school board recognized what the problem was after we sued them and brought the information to light," Esman says. "They said they knew they were violating the law and agreed to settle the case."
Esman says the educator at Nagreet High School also put a question on a test asking, "Isn't it amazing what the _____ has made?" and when the Buddhist student didn't answer, the teacher marked it wrong.
"The school board has agreed to a widespread and sweeping consent decree that removes the religion from the classroom and from the schools," says Esman.
Esman says in addition to removing religion from the schools, the district has also agreed to train its teachers on what the law says in regards to religions freedom in public schools.
"And they will ensure that this child and the other kids in the schools will have the benefits of a secular public education that all students are entitled to," Esman says.
Esman says the child's family was also awarded $4,000 to cover the costs of transporting the student to another school out of town.