Substitute teacher Lindsey Barr was fired from a Georgia school after raising concerns over a book featuring LGBT content that was set to be read to kids in the school library, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Matt Sharp said on the Todd Starnes Show.
Sharp explained that Barr, with the help of ADF, is suing the Bryan County School District for violating her religious beliefs. And this is one of the reasons Starnes s helping to raise money for ADF — so they can defend clients like Barr free of charge. Click here to donate.
“We just filed a lawsuit after we had sent a demand letter to the school trying to resolve this, which they ignored,” Sharp told Starnes. “We filed this lawsuit because teachers should not be fired simply because they expressed concerns of what’s being taught in the school.”
He continued, “Our Constitution protects the right of parents, teachers and others to speak out on issues like this and express their concerns. And the school district was wrong to fire Lindsey as a substitute teacher for this.”
Sharp noted that this case is not isolated. He explained that the left’s radical sex and gender ideologies have led to many cases of parents being denied the right to do what is best for their children.
“People of faith are finding themselves being sidelined and punished for that [defending their children]. And so that’s why we’re so honored to stand with individuals like this, with Lindsey, who’s saying enough is enough,” Sharp explained.
“You can’t punish people. You can’t fire people for simply speaking out when they have concerns about what’s being pushed on kids,” he added.
The ADF has participated in many high-profile religious liberty cases, most notably, the case of Joe Kennedy, a high school football coach who was fired for praying at the 50-yard line after games.
Kennedy’s case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and his right to pray on the field was upheld this summer in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.
Listen to the full conversation here:
The following is a rush transcript from the Todd Starnes Show which airs daily from noon to 3:00 p.m. EST.
STARNES: [00:41:54] I want to go to the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line right now. A good friend of this program from Alliance Defending Freedom, their senior counsel, Matt Sharp. Matt, good to have you with us today. [00:42:04][10.2]
SHARP: [00:42:05] Thanks for having me on. [00:42:06][0.7]
STARNES: [00:42:07] So a lot going on. We got an alert from ADF earlier this morning. And the latest case that you guys are bringing to everyone’s attention involves a substitute teacher from Georgia who got fired. I want you to tell our listeners what happened here. [00:42:22][15.0]
SHARP: [00:42:23] Yeah. So Lindsey Barr was a longtime teacher and then had become a substitute teacher in a school district outside of Savannah, Georgia. And she also had three children enrolled in the school district there. And Lindsey recently found out that the librarian was going to be reading a book to all of the kids. And in the book, it depicted same-sex couples and raising a family and things like that. And as a parent, Lindsey had some concerns about that, had concerns that the school was going to be indoctrinating her kids in a series of beliefs that violate her Christian beliefs. And so she very respectfully went to the principal and expressed her concerns about this and said she’d like her children to be excused from sitting in on this. Next thing you know, she gets fired, barred from being a substitute teacher not only in the elementary school but anywhere in the district, simply for expressing her concerns as a parent about some of the ideas that the school was indoctrinating into her children. [00:43:19][56.1]
STARNES: [00:43:20] So this is in Savannah, the Savannah area, McAllister Elementary School, and this book was in the library and read out loud. The book called “All Are Welcome.” And as you pointed out, it contained several illustrations about same-sex couples, parenting, and expecting children. Matt, you guys now representing, I understand a federal lawsuit has been filed, is that right? [00:43:43][23.5]
SHARP: [00:43:44] That’s right. We just filed a lawsuit after we had sent a demand letter to the school trying to resolve this, which they ignored. We filed this lawsuit because teachers should not be fired simply because they expressed concerns of what’s being taught in the school. And that’s doubly so when this teacher is a parent who, as a parent is concerned about what’s being taught and the impact it can have on our kids. Our Constitution protects the right of parents, teachers and others to speak out on issues like this and express their concerns. And the school district was wrong to fire Lindsey as a substitute teacher for this. [00:44:15][30.9]
STARNES: [00:44:15] What’s at stake here? You guys are going to be taking Lori’s case before the Supreme Court. It will be heard this fall session. What’s at stake here in this particular story? [00:44:25][9.5]
SHARP: [00:44:26] Well, we’re seeing this repeated pattern, whether it’s Lori’s case or this one, where people of faith are censored, are punished because of their beliefs. And whether it’s Lori being threatened by Colorado or Lindsey losing her job simply because she’s expressing concern over this indoctrination of her kids, of them, the school district, pushing ideas that violate her beliefs about marriage and human sexuality. People of faith are finding themselves being sidelined and punished for that. And so that’s why we’re so honored to stand with individuals like this, with Lindsey, who’s saying enough is enough. You can’t punish people. You can’t fire people for simply speaking out when they have concerns about what’s being pushed on kids. [00:45:06][39.9]
STARNES: [00:45:07] All right. Our good friend Matt Sharp from Alliance Defending Freedom on the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line. Matt, I know that you guys have really been active in defending female athletes and we had this crazy story out of Vermont where the high school girls volleyball team, all of the girls have been told they have to dress in a single-stall bathroom because there is a transgender player on the team. There’s been a lot of controversies there. And it was interesting because the girls seem to be making more sense than the grown-ups there in Vermont. [00:45:40][33.2]
SHARP: [00:45:42] Yeah, it’s one of the recurring themes we’re seeing of female athletes speaking out about these concerns about males competing on women’s teams taking their spots and, yes, even entering into locker rooms, restrooms and other places that violate these young women’s right to privacy. It’s one of the reasons we’ve got an ongoing lawsuit in Connecticut over their policy that allows men to take spots on women’s teams because there’s this is showing it not only. Raises fairness, and concerns. Our clients in Connecticut lost opportunities to win championships. They lost opportunities to advance to the next round of competition. But this poses safety concerns. If you’ve got a male coming into a sport like soccer or volleyball, where sometimes there’s physical contact that can be harmful to a girl, and as you point out, there are incredibly sensitive privacy concerns when these young women are changing. If a male is allowed to come in there, that violates those young women’s right to privacy. And I’m encouraged to see more and more young women like this speaking out and just saying this is wrong, this is inappropriate and we’re not going to tolerate it. [00:46:45][63.0]
STARNES: [00:46:45] All right. Well, again, Matt, all this month, we are doing our part to help raise funds so you guys can keep fighting these cases. And I mean, it really is important and again, to reaffirm, Matt, you guys don’t charge these folks a single penny to represent them in court. [00:47:01][15.5]
SHARP: [00:47:02] Not at all. Everything we do is pro-bono. And so whether it’s a demand letter or a lawsuit that, like lawyers, goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, we are going to stand with people that are fighting for free speech, for religious liberty, and for the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. [00:47:16][13.7]
STARNES: [00:47:16] Well, we love it. And you guys do it so well. And what I really appreciate is you do it in the spirit of the Bible, the good book, and that you give these districts an opportunity to make things right before filing a lawsuit. I think that says a lot about really where the heart and the character of ADF is. So. So we appreciate you guys doing that. [00:47:22][5.2]
SHARP: [00:47:37] Well, again, it’s an honor to do it and we’re really just so incredibly honored to serve these incredible men and women, young women, teachers, and others speaking out, standing for every American’s right to live out their faith without fear of government censorship or punishment. [00:47:52][14.5]
STARNES: [00:47:53] All right, Matt Sharp, ladies and gentlemen, Alliance Defending Freedom. Matt, thank you. [00:47:58][5.1]