Lou. area educators discuss expressing Christian values in public schools


by Chelsea Rabideau


Posted on May 10, 2013 at 12:06 AM

Updated Friday, May 10 at 12:08 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Louisville area educators met at Gheens Academy Thursday night to talk about how they can live out their Christian principles at school without crossing any legal lines.

The challenge according to Southeast Christian Church minister Bob Russell is, “To step up your Christian influence in the educational system, so you can make a positive difference in the lives of kids and in the future of this country.”

He spoke to hundreds of educators Thursday night, most of them from the public school system.

Lisa Shields is a librarian at Eastern High School. She shared why it’s so important to share the Christian values.

“We’re on a battlefield,” she said, “I think that reference was made very accurately because so many students we encounter everyday have no hope.”

One organizer, retired assistant superintendent Joe Burks, says teachers struggle with knowing where to draw the line between their values and what’s allowed in the classroom.

“As educators, we want to be law abiding citizens of the community, we don’t want to break the law; but, neither do we want to prevent and stifle religious expression that are rights that these kids have and fellow teachers have,” Burks said.

But, even the location of the meeting, which was at Gheens Academy, part of the public school system, ruffled some feathers.

Honi Goldman, an outspoken Louisville activist said, “it gave the illusion of this being a JCPS sponsored event and that’s the problem. It’s the perception that JCPS was promoting this.”

The spokesman for Jefferson County Public Schools made it clear, JCPS never sanctioned the event. The organizers raised money and rented the auditorium from JCPS, just like any other group.

“We rented the space, paid the insurance, and did it outside of school hours so as not to jeopardize anything or make it look like this was school sanctioned or sponsored,” Burks said.

The group is forming a network called Louisville Area Christian Educator Support or LACES to continue to answer questions for educators as they come up as far as what they can and cannot do in the classroom.