Tea Party Protests at Westview - NBC 7 San Diego

Tea Party Protests at Westview

Activists send emails of support to teacher who was forced to take down religious banners from his classroom



    Waving American flags and holding signs, parents and Tea Party activists stood outside Westview High School Wednesday afternoon.

    They said they are standing there in support of math teacher Brad Johnson.

    “It's nice to see that people are supportive that they value our heritage,” said Johnson.

    Last week, Johnson was told by a federal appeals court that he would have to take down posters from his classroom walls. He believes they are patriotic messages that refer to God.

    Tea Party Protests in SD

    [DGO] Tea Party Protests in SD
    Parents and Tea Party activists stood outside Westview High School protested against a court ruling in which a teacher was told to take down a religious banner.
    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011)

    “We as a nation our unique in this world. We believe that our rights came from a creator from God. I have been a public school teacher for 35 years. I am seeing that those values are eroded away and I don’t want to be a part o that anymore.”

    The court ruled against Johnson, stating when he is at work, he is speaking not as an individual, but as a public employee.

    In response to Wednesday’s protest, the attorney for the Poway Unified School District , Jack Sleeth stated, “We believe that the Ninth Circuit properly followed the Constitution and current Supreme Court case law in ensuring that all students have a proper environment for learning. The Ninth Circuit correctly found that teachers have no First Amendment right to espouse their personal religious beliefs in the classroom.”

    District Superintendent John Collins said, “The forty-page written decision, which included photographs of the actual banners, is very consistent with the legal and educational rationale the District has used since the very beginning of this case. We are pleased with the outcome after more than four years in the courts.”

    District Board President Penny Ranftle said, “We acknowledge that the United States legal process has several levels of appeal, including the Supreme Court, but the District is hoping to move forward without further calls on our limited resources in defending this lawsuit brought against the District.”

    Still Bridget Nelson, a Tea Party organizer said they are not backing down, “The board has a lot of power here to let it go if they want to. If they keep racking up attorney fees rock out! But us conservatives are going to stand up for Brad Johnson.”

    Johnson said he and his attorney are asking for a larger panel of judges on the 9th Circuit to review the case.

    And if they lose, they will take the issue to the Supreme Court.