The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has launched an investigation into claims that an LGBTQ high school student was forced by a school administrator to read passages from the Bible while they were being “disciplined,” according to The World.
The publication reported that ODE officials are investigating whether the punishment violated the student’s First Amendment Rights, including the Establishment Clause which recognizes the separation of church and state.
The district initially denied the allegation, but the administrator ultimately admitted it in an interview with the ODE.
On a separate occasion, a different teacher is accused of equating same-sex marriage to marrying a dog during a classroom lesson.
“There is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBTQ students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment,” the department’s March 6 letter to North Bend School District Superintendent Bill Yester reads.
There was also substantial evidence that using the Bible as punishment had a “chilling effect on LGBTQ students’ use of the district’s complaint process.”
ODE is investigating the district’s alleged failure to “remedy a hostile environment after complaints had been made by LGBTQ students.”
According to The Hill:
The district was encouraged to reach a settlement with an unidentified student within 30 days of receiving the letter but that reportedly has not happened, The World reported.
The school board will meet with state officials later this month to decide if it is in compliance with Oregon and U.S. anti-discrimination laws, it added.