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Christian Teacher Fired After Raising ‘Concern’ Over LGBT Book Read to Young Kids

Caleb Parke

A Christian mother of three is suing a Georgia elementary school after she was fired for taking issue with a pro-LGBT book being read to little children.

Lindsey Barr, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, filed suit Friday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division. Keri Martin, one of more than 4,600 attorneys in ADF Attorney Network, is serving on behalf of Barr as local counsel.

Should kids be forced to read LGBT books in elementary school?

The mom was fired from her job as a substitute teacher at Bryan County Schools (BCS) in Savannah for expressing concern over the book “All Are Welcome,” which depicts same-sex couples parenting and expecting kids, being read to students, including her own young children.

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Barr, who was a full-time BCS teacher for 10 years, spoke to the McAllister Elementary School principal as a mother, expressing her concerns that the book’s illustrations conflict with her faith and the values she seeks to impart to her two children who attend the school, and she asked that they be excused from the read-aloud program. Shortly after the principal told her that her children would be excused, she was fired from her job and now can no longer teach at McAllister or any of the nine Bryan County schools.

“The First Amendment protects the right of Lindsey—and all public employees—to express their concerns about what schools are teaching their children without the government cancelling them,” said ADF Senior Counsel Philip A. Sechler.

The religious freedom law firm sent a letter to Dr. Trey Robertson, the assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning on the Bryan County Board of Education, on Sept. 13 arguing her firing was unconstitutional, but the school refused to reinstate Barr.

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ADF argues that Barr’s situation conflicts with a new Georgia law, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which recognizes the “fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their minor children” and affords them the “right to review all instructional material intended for use in the classroom of his or her minor child.” This law directs each board of education, including the Bryan County Board of Education, to adopt “procedures for a parent to object to instructional material intended for use in his or her minor child’s classroom or recommended by his or her minor child’s teacher.”

“Terminating a teacher for engaging in First Amendment protected expression creates an atmosphere of fear and is intended to send a message to Lindsey and others in the community that, if they criticize the school’s approach to cultural or political issues or express viewpoints contrary to the school’s preferred viewpoints, they will face consequences,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “This is unlawful, and sadly, why this lawsuit is necessary.”

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