Student Sues School District and Teacher After Being Punished for Expressing His Religious Beliefs
The Thomas More Law Center filed a federal lawsuit yesterday afternoon against the Howell Public School District located in Howell, Michigan, and teacher, Johnson (“Jay”) McDowell, for punishment and humiliation heaped on a student after he expressed his religious belief opposing homosexuality when asked by the teacher during class. [copy of lawsuit]
The student, Daniel Glowacki, a junior at Howell High at the time of the incident, was specifically asked by McDowell about his feelings on homosexuals. Daniel responded that as a Catholic he was offended by the gay and lesbian lifestyle. Because of his answer, Daniel was ordered to leave the classroom under threat of suspension.
As news of the incident spread, homosexual activists across the country hailed McDowell as a hero and vilified Daniel and his family, as “bigots”, referring to Daniel’s religious objections to the homosexual agenda as “hate” speech. McDowell is head of the school’s teachers union. The Michigan Education Association, the state teachers’ union, supported McDowell’s actions.
National lesbian TV host, Ellen DeGeneres got in on the anti-Glowacki campaign. Daniel even became the subject of a school assembly.
The incident occurred on October 20, 2010, the day that Daniel’s Economics class teacher, Jay McDowell, wore a purple “Tyler’s Army” t-shirt, as part of a national campaign promoted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to highlight alleged “bullying” of homosexuals.
Rather than teach academic courses that day, McDowell decided to spend the entire day promoting this national pro-homosexual agenda, which included showing his classes a video concerning such “bullying.”
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, commented: “Rather than teach the required Economics curriculum for which he is paid, McDowell, with the full knowledge of school officials, used his position of authority to promote his homosexual agenda at taxpayer’s expense. This case points out the outrageous way in which homosexual activists have turned our public schools into indoctrination centers, and are seeking to eradicate all religious and moral opposition to their agenda.”
Thompson added, “It defies common sense for schools to ban all sorts of unhealthy foods while at the same time promoting the homosexual lifestyle, which hard statistics show increases drug abuse, suicides and reduces the life expectancies by several years. Schools that promote such lifestyles are engaging in a form of child abuse.”
The incident all started when McDowell ordered a student in his classroom to remove her confederate flag belt buckle because he was offended by it. Daniel pointed out the teacher’s obvious hypocrisy: the teacher can promote a message that might be offensive to students, but students can’t wear clothing that expresses a message that is offensive to the teacher.
In total disregard of his professional responsibilities as a teacher and the constitutional rights of his students, after ordering Daniel to leave the classroom, McDowell asked the remainder of the class whether anyone else did not accept homosexuality. A student raised his hand, and McDowell ordered him out of the classroom as well.
In this case, the teacher became the bully, and the students who opposed his homosexual agenda became his victims.
A 14-year old openly gay student who supported McDowell at subsequent school board meeting appeared on the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to discuss his speech. The student was rewarded with a $10,000 academic scholarship by a digital media company.
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan filed the lawsuit on behalf Sandra Glowacki and her son Daniel in the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. TMLC is representing the family at no charge.
The lawsuit claims that Daniel Glowacki’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech and equal protection have been violated by the policies and actions of the school district and McDowell. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks nominal damages, a declaration that the school policies and actions violate the Constitution, and injunction to prohibit further constitutional violations.
In cooperation with the NEA, the MEA, and the HEA, and in furtherance of the national agenda of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (“GLAAD”), the School District permitted the celebration of “Spirit Day” at Howell High School on October 20, 2010. On Spirit Day, people who support the acceptance of homosexuality wear the color purple.
In fact, the School District permitted its teachers to sell purple t-shirts with the slogan “Tyler’s Army” to students and teachers to promote the 2010 Spirit Day. “Tyler’s Army” is a reference to Tyler Clementi who committed suicide after a video of him having sex with another male student in his dorm room was posted on the Internet.
Senior Trial Counsel, Robert Muise, handling the case, stated: “Homosexual activists, with the willing and complicit support of public school districts and teachers’ unions throughout the country, are using our public schools to foist their destructive agenda on our children, thereby creating a hostile learning environment for those students who oppose this agenda on religious and moral grounds. This case is just one example of the pernicious effect these activists are having on our students and in our community. We intend to stop it.”
The Howell School District and the Michigan Education Association (“MEA”), which is a subsidiary of the National Education Association (“NEA”), along with the Howell Education Association (“HEA”), which is a chapter of the MEA, have forged a symbiotic relationship and have worked with one another to adopt policies, that promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle and to prohibit religious opposition to homosexuality. The school district has promoted the concept that religious opposition to homosexuality is equivalent to bullying, hate speech, and homophobia in order to eradicate such opposition.