Texas Teacher Fired For Talking About Christianity, Re-Hired After Online Petition

A Texas teacher who was fired for his comments about Christianity was re-hired this week, after a petition grew to nearly 1,500 signatures. Ryan Stagemeyer didn't blame the school when he was fired -- but the students did, and they moved to demand his return. It seems to have worked; as of Friday, the teacher has reportedly been returned to his position. You'll have to check out his comments, though, to see whether you support the decision, or the reversal.

According to Dallas News, Ryan Stagemeyer spoke to his sociology class about charitable works. In that conversation, he brought up Christianity, saying that Christians who don't give as much as they can to the poor are hypocrites.

It's far tamer than some things we've seen a teacher get fired for -- starring in adult videos, branding students, etc -- but is it acceptable?

An online petition had reached 500 signatures when the district released a statement, saying it was "reviewing the decision" and would not elaborate further on the ongoing situation.

The petition does not address whether an opinion on Christianity should be shared by a teacher, or whether calling a group of people hypocrites is part of sociology. Nor does it appear that students recognize the First Amendment doesn't protect one from being fired for speech, particularly speech on the job. It does, however, let the district know that the students disagree with their decision.

"Mr. Stag has done nothing wrong. Sharing opinions and learning about other opinions is a part of Sociology. Trying to say that there is something wrong with stating an opinion about Christian hypocrites is ridiculous. An opinion is an opinion. There is nothing wrong with having them. If you can't learn to respect other people's opinions then maybe it is you who needs to change. Mr. Stagemeyer has had an impact in an innumerable amount of people, and punishing him for something that should be protected by the First Amendment is wrong. There is nothing but positivity about Mr. Stag. Every single student he has had says that he has made an impact on their life that they will never forget. Not many teachers can say that about their students. A great teacher like Mr. Stag is invaluable and suspending him for having an opinion seems ridiculous. #FreeStag"
The petition may have had an impact, though, along with questioning of students about other things the teacher had said. (One student reported being asked whether Stagemeyer had ever told him to disregard authority, and whether he typically engages in Christian-bashing.) Late Friday night, the district announced that Stagemeyer would be reinstated in his role as sociology teacher.

Stagemeyer posted on Twitter, asking students not to blame the school, and taking full responsibility for his actions.

Should a teacher be fired for expressing an unpopular, and negative, opinion about members of a religious group in the classroom, or was this within the scope of a sociology class? Share your thoughts in the comments.

[Photo Credit: College Books]