Teacher fired for giving student a Bible finally gets justice

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled in favor of a New Jersey teacher who was fired for giving a student a Gideon Bible. Walt Tutka, a substitute teacher at Phillipsburg Middle School in the Phillipsburg (New Jersey) School District, was fired in early 2014 after he gave a Gideon Bible to a student who asked about the Bible and told him he didn't have one. You can the see the original story about the firing by clicking here.

In its ruling, the EEOC ruled that there was sufficient cause to believe the school district discriminated against Tutka on the basis of his religion, and retaliated against him for it. Todd Starnes of Fox News uncovered an email from Phillipsburg Middle School assistant principal John Stillo that showed he was hostile towards the Gideons, even to the point of sending police after them. "It has been brought to the administration's attention that Gideons may be near our campus to distribute literature to our students," Stillo wrote in the email memo sent to school staff members. "Please make sure they DO NOT step foot onto our campus at any time. There will be added police and security presence at dismissal."

Tutka, a member of the Gideons Society, was told he violated school district policy after giving a student a Bible, even though Tutka did not initiate the discussion about the Bible. An inquisitive student continually asked him about a Bible verse, and when Tutka showed the student a Bible with the verse in question, the student remarked he had no Bible. In response, Tutka gave him the Bible in hand. The EEOC ruled Tutka did not violate policy and was well within his rights. "You can't just fire people because they happen to hand a Bible to somebody while they are at work," attorney Hiram Sasser of the Liberty Institute (who represented Tutka) said.

With the ruling, the Phillipsburg School District must now reach out to Tutka to make amends. If they do not, the EEOC will assist Tutka in seeking restitution from the district.

Source: Liberty Institute 

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