Former Student Claims School Punished Her for Atheistic Views
Any time a 4.1 GPA student claims teachers and school administrators 'threatened, punished and censored her, for expressing her opinions on religion, abortion, sex education, and drug education in an attempt to chill, deter and restrict (her) from freely expressing her opinions,' you know it's not a good situation.
Cidney Fisk, a self-described atheist, claims she clashed with Delta High School staff on issues ranging from abortion and sex ed classes to football game attire, to the point that her grades were adjusted down and a counselor threatened to rescind letters of recommendation. Those threats led to anxiety attacks, and then a lawsuit against the school district, along with specific teachers and school staff.
School of Thought
According to her lawsuit, Fisk was also captain of the school's speech and debate team, student body treasurer, and a reporter on the student magazine, all to go along with that stellar GPA. She says the trouble began when she aided the effort to force district schools to allow atheist materials to be distributed at schools if they allowed Gideon Bibles to be offered to students, and also criticized the school's religion-based abstinence-only sex education program.
Fisk had an A turned to an F after voicing concerns in a local paper over the separation of church and state in Delta schools; had a 98 changed to a 70 after questioning the qualifications of a visiting Navy Seal speaking about his religious conversion; and was denied the opportunity to join the National Honor Society, even though she had a qualifying GPA.
Making the Grade
Even more egregious, Fisk says she was threatened with bad reviews from school officials that would damage her chances for scholarships and acceptance at two colleges. Her lawsuit claims school counselors ruined her chances of qualifying Colorado-based Boettcher and Daniels scholarships and provided negative recommendations to private colleges.
As a result, Fisk alleges, she suffered "extreme emotional and mental harm ... inflicted by her teachers, counselors, and school officials, and possible lost opportunity to attend colleges and universities of her choice and to obtain scholarships." She suffered two anxiety attacks that required hospitalization and medication.
Fisk, now a political studies student at the University of Denver, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for economic losses, emotional distress, and humiliation.
- Atheist Colorado Student Sues School District for Discrimination (Reuters)
- The Tricky Topic of Religious Accommodation in Public Places (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- NYC Can Bar Churches From Public Schools: 2nd Cir. (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Christian School Sues Ex-Teachers Over Proof of Faith (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.