Teacher Sues School Over Alleged Valentine's Day Religious Discrimination

| by Sheena Vasani
Valentine's Day cardsValentine's Day cards

A Michigan teacher is suing her school district for allegedly demanding she throw a Valentine's Day party in 2014, despite the fact that celebrating the holiday is against her religion.

Yvonne Lemmons, a 56-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, worked as a fourth-grade teacher at MacArthur University Academy for 10 years before she was laid off, Michigan Live reports.

After the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed she had a “reasonable cause” to sue, Lemmons filed a lawsuit on Jan. 4.

The school’s reasons for firing the woman are unclear, but Lemmons believes it’s because she refused to celebrate the holiday.

She claims she tried to compromise with the school principal so the students could have the party without her involvement.

Moreover, her attorney, Kathy Bogas, said that parents were usually responsible for organizing the Valentine's Day celebration.

"Defendant rejected all the Plaintiff's suggestions that would have permitted students to have a holiday celebration without Plaintiff violating her religious beliefs," the lawsuit states.

Bogas said this incident was the first time Lemmons had any conflict with the school.

"She's really a good woman devoted to teaching students," Bogas said. "Her abilities were never questioned until she challenged this directive."

This is not the first time a lawsuit has been filed on religion grounds because of Valentine’s Day.

In 2014, a Pennsylvania school district was sued after a first-grader was forbidden from handing out Valentine's cards with Bible verses on them, Lehigh Valley Live reported.

"Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas," an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization that filed the suit, said in a statement. "That includes respecting a student's freedom to include a Bible verse and a reference to God in a Valentine's Day card."

Sources: Michigan LiveLehigh Valley Live / Photo Credit: Michigan Live