Teacher Sues School Over Biased Curriculum

December 4, 2003

Source: The Associated Press


On December 4, 2003 The Associated Press reported that "a seventh-grade social studies teacher in Presque Isle who said he was barred from teaching about non-Christian civilizations has sued his school district, claiming it violated his First Amendment right of free expression. Gary Cole of Washburn, a teacher at Skyway Middle School, sued School Administrative District 1 in U.S. District Court in Bangor. Cole alleged that complaints by 'a small group of fundamentalist Christian individuals' led to the creation of a curriculum 'which never mentions religions other than Christianity and never teaches the history of civilizations other than Christian civilizations.' 'He can't even teach the history of anti-Semitism (or the) history of ancient Greece,' said Cole's lawyer, A.J. Greif of Bangor. 'How can you explain the evolution of democracy in the Western world without talking about ancient Greece? He can't talk about all the influences of the Indian, Japanese or Chinese cultures.' Cole's lawsuit alleges that the curriculum infringes on 'his students' First Amendment rights to the free flow of information within the classroom' and that it 'constitutes an illegal establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment.'"