By Todd Starnes
It was way back in 2014 when I first introduced you to Walt Tutka, of Phillipsburg, New Jersey – and a member of Gideon’s International.
Gideon’s is a Christian service organization. They give people Bibles. You’ve probably seen one of their Bibles in a Holiday Inn — on a bedside table.
Mr. Tutka also happened to be a substitute teacher in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. But he was fired from that job after he gave a student a Bible.
The student happened to be the last person entering through a door. Mr. Tutka told the youngster, “The first shall be last, but the last shall be first.”
The student later inquired on several occasions about the origins of the quote. He showed the student the verse in his Bible, which led to the student asking for a personal copy of the Bible. And being a good Gideon, Mr. Tutka gladly supplied the child with a copy.
It did not seem to matter to the school district that the student had asked for a copy of the Good Book.
First Liberty Institute took on Mr. Tutka’s case – and eventually scored a victory with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They agreed that the school district had discriminated against Mr. Tutka on the “basis of religion and retaliation.”
And on the eve of First Liberty’s deadline to file a federal lawsuit, the school district agreed to a settlement.
That means Mr. Tutka can once again become a substitute teacher — effective today.
“We are really pleased we accomplished the mission we set out to achieve – restoring Walt Tutka as a substitute teacher in Philipsburg,” First Liberty Institute’s Hiram Sasser told me. “We always knew Walt complied with all school district policies and federal laws, the EEOC agreed, and now Walt is returning to his service to the community in Philipsburg.”
And we hope the Phillipsburg School District learned a very important lesson. It’s not nice to bully people of faith — and it’s also illegal.