These days we are more sensitive to the bullying that students dole upon one another in school. Apparently, the teachers can bully students with verbal assaults as long as the student is a Christian.
Nearly every day in class, James Corbett, who had taught at the school for the past 20 years, would ridicule and harass Chad Farnan about his Christian and creationist views. One of the statements made by Corbett in the classroom in front of Farnan’s fellow students was,“When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth.”
After repeated verbal abuse in front of his classmates, Farnan filed suit against the teacher in December 2007. He accused the teacher of promoting hostility to Christians in the classroom and in promoting ‘irreligion over religion’ which is a violation of the First Amendment.
The case was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the most liberal court in the entire US. In keeping with their liberal history, the Ninth Circuit Court overturned the District Court’s ruling declaring that the teacher had a qualified immunity since there was no precedent of any case where a teacher had been held liable for anti-religious statements and those statements been ruled to be unconstitutional.
Based on his belief that there was no justifiable reason for his attacks on his student, the judge ruled in favor of the student but the victory was short-lived as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals predictably ruled to the left of center and overturned the district judge.
The case then appealed to the US Supreme Court in hopes that they would make a precedent setting ruling to defend the religious rights of students in public schools. In March this year, the US Supreme Court announced that they will not hear the case, thus making the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling will stand as the final decision.
A precedent in this case has been set, but not the one hoped for. The precedent that was set allows teachers to verbally abuse, ridicule and harass the religious beliefs of any student and they can do so in the classroom in front of other students.