Give a kid a Bible, lose your job

A New Jersey middle school substitute teacher has been fired after he gave his Bible to a student who asked him about it. The teacher, Walter Tutka, was a long-time substitute teacher for the Phillipsburg School District, and filed a wrongful termination complaint against the district Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Tutka was fired in January after an October 2012 incident in which one of his students inquired about the phrase "the first will be last and the last will be first." After learning the phrase came from the Bible, the student inquired about it with Tutka over several weeks. After the student told him he kept forgetting to look up the verse, Tutka showed him the verse in the Gideon New Testament he had in his pocket. When the student stated he didn't have a Bible, Tutka offered him the Gideon.

Despite protests from members of the community and friends, Tutka lost his job for passing out religious material on campus and not being neutral on religious issues. Tutka is now being represented by Hiram Sasser, director of litigation at the Liberty Institute, who stated “What’s next – are they going to ban Shakespeare because his plays have Bible quotations?” He also pointed out that Tutka only responded to the intellectual inquiries of a student, and did not proselytize.

UPDATE (1/2015): The EEOC has ruled in favor of Tutka in his complaint, They found the school district showed bias and retaliation based simply on Tutka's faith. Click here to read more.

No comments:

Post a Comment