Louisville teachers educated about religion in the classroom
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---Some Jefferson County teachers are getting a lesson outside of the classroom about their own religious beliefs.
"As it relates to the First Amendment, we can't foster religion. There's no government endorsed religion allowed. We cannot coerce students. But, on the other hand, neither can we inhibit the free exercise of religion," says Joe Burks, retired Jefferson County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent.
The kickoff event was not put on by JCPS, but it was held inside the auditorium at Gheens Academy-Durrett.
It was for the 'Louisville Area Christian Educators Support', and aimed to give Christian teachers encouragement and guidance about how much they can say about their religious beliefs in a public school classroom.
"To step up your Christian influence in the education system so you can make a positive difference in the lives of kids and in the future of this country," says Bob Russell, a retired Southeast Senior Minister.
However, some of these teachers say they're afraid to speak freely about religion in the classroom.
"You're always afraid if you say something the kids are going to go home and tell their parents and you may cause uproar with them," says teacher Megan Tucker.
"Especially because my kids are so young. It's hard to know what I'm allowed to say and what I can't say," says teacher Kayla Bream.
"Can we stand up and say, I believe the following? No. But can we say this piece of literature says this, this researcher says that. The Bible even says this," says Joe Burks.
It's that topic of religion that can be widely controversial.
On our WDRB Facebook page, some people said "It's a separation of church and state", "it has no place in the public school system" and "we will open up a Pandora's box".
These teachers say it's important to know what their religious rights are.
"We're still going to follow what is legal in the classroom. We're not going to go into our classrooms and preach. We're just trying to show kids Christ through our actions and how we live our lives every day," says Kayla Bream.
Former and current educators, along with some Southeast Christian educators, were among the speakers at the Thursday evening kickoff event.
They say they will work together to help unify Christian educators.
Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.