KTSP News reports:
Carpenter says she never had a problem with her job until last week, when she mentioned being a witch. She says her employer said she was a great driver. Carpenter had been driving a bus for five years. She said she never once discussed being a witch with any children she drove on her bus.
The Princeton school district request that she have no contact with students, and says she is not a role model. The district says it can legally request her removal. “We have the right, that if we feel if somebody is not what we want them to be with children, or any other reason, all we have to do is let them know.”
If it’s OK to say that someone shouldn’t be around children merely because they are a witch (remember, she didn’t talk about her religious beliefs around the kids — she was fired because of what he religion is, not because of any religiously-motivated behavior directed at any children), then what’s to stop them from doing the same to other groups? Why can’t they insist that there be no Muslim, Hindu, or atheist bus drivers? Why not exclude gays, single parents, and divorced people from driving busses?
None of that would work, though the legal arguments against discriminating against people because of their religion are strongest. If the school district had evidence that Carpenter’s religion put kids at risk, then they might have reasonable grounds for dismissing her, but they don’t offer any such reasons. On the contrary, they don’t say anything about kids being put in physical danger; instead, they argue that her religious beliefs mean that she isn’t a good “role model” and that she isn’t “what [they] want her to be.”