A parent in North Carolina is upset that a high school biology teacher who compared public education to Nazi death camps and attacked the theory of evolution will be allowed to continue teaching.
Krista Bennett, a parent of a senior at Fuquay-Varina High School, told the News & Observer that she’s disappointed with the Wake County Public School System’s decision not to fire Ray Fournier over an article he published in a home-schooling magazine.
In the article, Fournier wrote that the public school system was like “a concentration camp dedicated to the spiritual death of those imprisoned behind these walls.” The biology teacher also complained about the teaching of evolution, claiming it discredited “the reliability of the Bible” and got “rid of God as Creator,” and he said public education could turn straight kids into gay kids.
The district announced Friday that Fournier would be suspended for five days without pay.
“The Wake County Public School System recognizes and respects the First Amendment rights of its employees to free speech in their private lives to the extent the exercise of these rights is not disruptive to students, staff, or the school environment,” a spokesman for the school system said in a statement.
“In reviewing concerns regarding statements made by (Fournier), Mr. Fournier acknowledges that he exceeded his rights by making disruptive statements in materials he wrote and published, and has issued an apology for those statements.”
Bennett told the News & Observer that it appears parents’ concerns about the teacher had little influence. She said his punishment was just a slap on the wrist.
“In the corporate sector you’d get fired over that,” she said. “But I guess not in the school board sector.”
But an education expert with the conservative John Locke Foundation told the News & Observer that the district had made the right decision by not firing Fournier.
“He keeps his job, and the school board avoids a lawsuit they would probably lose,” Terry Stoops said. “And everyone gets to move on and call it a learning experience.”