The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled September 13th that a California teacher’s First Amendment guarantees were not violated when the principal at the school where he worked ordered him to remove classroom banners that connected America’s heritage of freedom to faith in God. The decision overturned a lower court’s ruling that the Poway Unified School District had violated the free speech rights of Bradley Johnson, a mathematics teacher in the district.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Johnson “had displayed banners in his classrooms for two decades that he saw as celebrating the religious heritage of America, including ‘In God We Trust,’ ‘God Bless America,’ and ‘God Shed His Grace on Thee.’ ”
But when Johnson transferred to a another school in the district in 2007, his new principal, Dawn Kastner, ordered him to remove the banners, some over seven feet wide, saying that their size made them “a promotion of a particular viewpoint,” as Kastner was quoted in the court’s 40-page opinion.
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