Illinois Principal Fired Over Prayer Book

Sharan Spears, photo Dekalb Chronicle
Shahran Spears, photo Dekalb Chronicle

On Monday the secular war against people of faith and any expression of it came to Dekalb when in a 5-2 vote the Dekalb school board fired Brooks Elementary school principal Shahran Spears because someone complained about Spears handing out prayer books to teachers and other staff at the school last month as a part of staff appreciation week.

The school board leveled seven accusations against Spears as the basis for their dismissal of her one was the fact that Spears used about $200 in district funds to purchase copies of Inspire for Teachers: Prayers, Promises and Proverbs for those who change lives and touch hearts by Josie Carr to give out to staff as a gift.  The rest of the charges stem from a complaint filed by a parent and teachers union representative that Spears played a religiously themed song,  at a meeting with students and teachers in November of last year.

After Spears handed out the books in May the school district placed her on administrative leave for the final few weeks of the school year giving no explanation to parents when it was announced.

After more than 6 hours of debate in closed executive session the board moved to terminate Spears employment with the district.  Apparently expressions of faith are now tantamount to criminal offenses in the eyes of the secular left and neutered governmental officials.

Spears lawyer Rene Hernandez of Rockford has vowed to sue the district for discrimination.

Parents in the district are upset by the move as the Dekalb Daily Chronicle reports:

Gemini Sigler, and other District 428 parents, said they were not told why Spears would be absent. Sigler said district administrators didn’t handle the issue appropriately.

“The abrupt and public manner in which Ms. Spears was removed from the school was unnecessary and disheartening,” she said. “This is a premature reaction to political pressure.”

Daniel Pastore, another District 428 parent, said that he didn’t feel Spears had crossed the line.

“It was her moral values that were key,” he said. “Just her presence commands respect. The school records speak for themselves.”

For some parents, such as Larry McCoy, it was Spears’ dedication to her students that stood out.

“She is about the children. … When I see a so-called witch-hunt when there are no witches around, I have a problem with that,” he said. “We love this woman here. We love our children here. We want to keep things the way that they are and take out all the negativity.”

After the board fired her Spears told supporters that;

“It’s gonna be all right,” she said. “What I beg of you today is do not let my experience go in vain.  … Take this somewhere. We are talking about our babies. The only way they know about leadership and advocacy is through your active participation.”

“I can’t believe all these people stayed here for, what has it been? Seven hours? I think that speaks to the heart of everything,” she said. “… I think the truth is exactly what you saw happen right here.”

In a six page letter to Spears the Dekalb school district outlined its reasoning for wanting it fire her and it had everything to do with a hostility towards faith and clear agreement with the Freedom For Religion Foundations way of interpreting the First Amendment.

2-95d46d9140The letter continually cites prayers from the book, that Spears encouraged teachers to read and pray from, “created an atmosphere of harassment, intimidation, and inappropriate bias.”

The letter also ludicrously said that praying for “Students with disabilities among other categories of students, is conduct that disrupts or many disrupt the educational programs or process in violation of board policy.”

The letter also says that the book and that praying was “Outside the permitted religious curriculum relating to geography, history, culture or the development of various ethnic groups.”  And that board policy prohibited “Preferential or derogatory treatment as an academic subject with no emphasis on the advancement or practice of religion.”  I think that means the Dekalb school district is a religion free zone outside of what is undoubtedly brief, dry textbook glossing overs of matters of faith.

The school district also preposterously thinks that the Mrs. Spears actions “Violate(d) the rights or invade the privacy of others.”

All of this hostility towards Mrs. Spears and other people of faith across the country from school boards and other bodies of government steams from a bastardized interpretation of the First Amendment which says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The Dekalb school board and district is taking the extreme Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose President spoke at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb earlier this year, position and focusing singularly on the Establishment clause with the view of any expression of any faith(but usually Christian) by any person involved in government is a horrific, end of the world, violation of someones unicorn and rainbows filled bubble of atheism, agnosticism, or progressive liberalism.

Convenient that they completely ignore the Free Exercise clause that allows people to have and express their faith, and are we ever seeing great examples of the power of the Christian faith in the family members of the victims of the Church shooting in South Carolina.

Given the anger in the community over the dismissal of a good principal for outlandish reasons and the good prospects of a lawsuit  this issue will not go away any time soon.