A national religious law firm, Liberty Counsel, has taken action against a Florida math teacher who has been accused of forcing her Christian students to remove cross necklaces.

Lora Jane Riedas reportedly asked at least three of her high school students to remove their religious necklaces with her only explanations being, “it’s disrespectful” and “it’s a gang symbol.”

The issues she has been pushing have nothing to do with math.

Riedas has also been accused of using class hours to promote LGBT activism, something that violates school district policy, which reads that teachers “may not campaign on school property during work hours on behalf of any political issue.”

According to Liberty Counsel, Riedas spent time on social media during work hours advocating for LBGT issues. In addition to that allegation, Riedas has decorated her classroom with primarily LGBT literature. Her desk also reflects her political beliefs with stickers expressing her support of LGBT students and pride in her own sexual orientation — Riedas is married to a woman who also teaches within the district.

Liberty Counsel wrote a letter to the district superintendent asking that the school address these concerns with Riedas. They also want her students to be allowed to wear their cross necklaces in class. Beyond ostracizing Christian students, she has also supposedly distributed rainbow stickers and placed them on folders belonging to the students without their consent.

While I think it’s commendable that schools have begun participating more in gay-pride celebrations and created an open dialogue for students to express their support of one another, Riedas crosses the line by bringing activism into the classroom. By displaying a sticker on her desk reading, “I love my LGBT students,” she alienates students who do not fall into that category. Having designated blocks of time where schools recognize diversity and LGBT celebrations with decorations and events is one thing, but to create an atmosphere that favors LGBT students isn’t conducive to a positive learning environment.

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It is inappropriate that Lora Jane Riedas would advocate for rights of a particular group, yet ask religious students to remove symbols of their faith. There are most likely more than a few students whose beliefs don’t run parallel to her own, yet they are subjected to the blatant agenda pushing displays and discussions that Riedas has created in her classroom.

One of her students reported that when she removed the LGBT rainbow sticker that was placed on her folder, Riedas’ behavior toward that student changed.

If this teacher can’t accept that the classroom isn’t a place for her activism, she needs to go. The issues she has been pushing have nothing to do with math.

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While the principal of the high school claims that she hasn’t received any contact from concerned students or parents regarding the math teacher, the school has acknowledged receipt of the letter Liberty Counsel sent.  As a parent, I would be highly concerned about the hostile learning environment that seems to be thriving in this teacher’s classroom.

Angelina Newsom is a U.S. Army veteran and an OpsLens contributor. She served 10 years in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies criminal justice and is still active within the military community. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

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