Court Orders Teacher to Remove Christian Banners
A federal appeals court rejected the claim of a San Diego-area high school math teacher that his 1st Amendment rights were violated when the school's principal ordered him to take down classroom banners that referred to God, the Los Angeles Times reports. Bradley Johnson had displayed banners in his classrooms for two decades that celebrated the religious heritage of America, including "In God We Trust," "God Bless America," and "God Shed His Grace on Thee." But after he transferred to a new school in 2007, a principal ordered the banners taken down. Johnson thought he was being singled out because the phrases involved Christianity, and he filed a lawsuit. A federal judge last year sided with Johnson, but the school board appealed. The federal appeals court reversed the judge's ruling, saying the principal and school board had the same authority as any employer to set limits on the speech of employees, and also ordered Johnson to pay the school district's legal expenses.