Duane Nickell, a physics teacher at Franklin Central High School, recently lost her job for sensitizing his students on the fundamental free speech rights.
Dr. Nickell reportedly caused commotion after telling his students that the Pledge of Allegiance is voluntary, moments before their daily flag salute.
Kevin Koers, the school principal insisted that the doctor went overboard with his beliefs, and needed to learn the hard way.
The controversial statements for which he suffered punishment, were made in Indianapolis last year.
Speaking with USA Today, the disgruntled teacher said: “I just wanted them to feel comfortable if they didn’t want to say it. That’s OK with me.
“His statement to me was that it was not my place to say that.
“He said it was the parent or student’s place.”
Dr. Nickell’s problem with his school management was reported to The American Humanist Association (AHA), an educational organization which advocates for human rights, religious minorities and atheists.
The organization said teachers should be allowed to teach students about their inalienable rights.
According to a letter from AHA — directed to Franklin High School, “Dr. Nickell’s statement, as you surely know, is fully accurate, as the Supreme Court long ago ruled that public school students have a free speech right under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to opt out of the Pledge of Allegiance exercise.
“Dr. Nickell was doing exactly what a good teacher should do: informing and
educating students about an exercise that would be occurring each day in his classroom…”
AHA advised that teachers should be commended rather than reprimanded for such “offenses.”
The organization which has over 600,000 supporters also assured that they’ll offer legal help to teachers if school authorities consider such actions necessary again.
Dr. Nickell said he never discussed his personal opinion on the Pledge of Allegiance with those kids.
Nonetheless, he knew beforehand that sack was underway, so he reached out to AHA, but requested that they wait until he got a formal contract termination notice from Franklin High School.
“I did not use that occasion to expound on my personal opinions on the pledge. All I said was that it’s voluntary,” Nickell added in his statements.
“Even after a year, I just find it outrageous that a school principal doesn’t want the students to know their rights.”