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Polk County teacher suing state over fingerprinting

Posted by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 3:43 PM
  • 16 Replies

Polk County teacher suing state over fingerprinting

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Polk County teacher is suing the state for requiring her to be fingerprinted for a background check, saying it violates her religious freedom.

According to her attorney, Scott Skelton, of Lufkin, Pam McLaurin believes the book of Revelation literally and that getting a fingerprint would bear her the mark of the beast and she would be "be tormented in burning sulfur."

McLaurin teaches at Big Sandy School District in Dallardsville, which is in Polk County.

Skelton said the case, which will be heard in the Lufkin federal court, is the only religious freedom case he knows of taken place in Lufkin and the only fingerprint case he is aware of in the United States.

Skelton said McLaurin, who has taught at the district for 20 years, is willing to undergo any other type of background check.

"She just doesn't want to be fingerprinted. That's all she doesn't want to have to do. She doesn't mind her background being checked out. She just doesn't want to submit to that. But TEA is not allowing an exception and so she is in this predicament," said Skelton.

He said the state is enforcing the rule on McLaurin, even though it is not supposed to go into effect until 2011.

Superintendent Kenneth Graham said the district will do whatever the state requires, but hopes it will allow McLaurin to continue teaching without being fingerprinted.

"A person's religious convictions are their own and we're not going to judge them as far as I'm concerned," Graham said. "My only consideration is that she does a good job for us and she is good for our children."

Wayne Haglund is the lawyer for the Big Sandy School District.

"The Constitution issues are very, very interesting, from a stand point of a conflict between a teacher's sincere upheld religious beliefs under the first amendment to the United States Constitution and the state's intent in providing a safe environment for children in the public schools," said Haglund.

Skelton said a preliminary injunction hearing is set in Beaumont on Nov. 12 to determine if the Texas  Education Agency can terminate McLaurin's license.

Revelation 13:16-17 in the King James Version states, "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."

Revelation 14:9-11 states, "A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

Graham said McLaurin keeps her religious beliefs to herself and does not push them on students or other staff.

Skelton said McLaurin wished to not speak to the media about the matter.

by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 3:43 PM
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Replies (1-10):
tericared
by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 4:04 PM

OK I am all for people practicing their religion as they wish...But I was a Christian for over 20 years and never took those verses to mean that nor did I ever hear anyone else determine that finger prints means the mark of the beast....It also says in the Bible that we are to follow the laws of our land.... as long as they are not unjust......

Wow

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Talee
by Gold Member on Dec. 1, 2009 at 4:05 PM


Quoting tericared:

OK I am all for people practicing their religion as they wish...But I was a Christian for over 20 years and never took those verses to mean that nor did I ever hear anyone else determine that finger prints means the mark of the beast....It also says in the Bible that we are to follow the laws of our land.... as long as they are not unjust......

Wow


I know....this is pretty far out there...

sweetie00
by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 4:23 PM


Quoting tericared:

OK I am all for people practicing their religion as they wish...But I was a Christian for over 20 years and never took those verses to mean that nor did I ever hear anyone else determine that finger prints means the mark of the beast....It also says in the Bible that we are to follow the laws of our land.... as long as they are not unjust......

Wow


yeah, I was in a weird fundy foster home for 4 years and this is new to me....eye rolling

athenax3
by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 4:24 PM

This woman, though entitled to her religous beliefs, shouldn't be teaching children if she isn't willing to comply with the rules and regulations and safety measures to do so- period. Not to mention if heaven forbid she wins this ludicrous case, she has opened the door for pedophiles and criminals to do the same, further complicating and enlongating the already ardurous path to capture, track and identify those who are dangerous to our children and our society.



Mergath
by Silver Member on Dec. 1, 2009 at 5:22 PM

I don't generally have a problem with employers making accommodations for an employee's religious beliefs, but not if it means that the person can't actually do the job they were hired for, or if it jeopardizes someone's safety.  This, in my opinion, falls into the latter category.  

And how on earth does a bible verse talking about receiving a mark mean that you can't make a mark onto something else with your finger?  Will she go to hell if she leaves fingerprints on a window?  I see no connection.  Perhaps this teacher has something buried in her past that would come to light if she allowed the fingerprinting...  All the more reason not to make an exception, in my opinion.

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kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Dec. 1, 2009 at 5:32 PM

The thing about taking the bible literally is that you have to take the entire thing literally.  In Revelation it talks about people taking the mark. This is not something that happens unwillingly.  Those who receive the mark know what they are getting into, they are knowingly turning their backs on God.  If the mark had to do with fingerprinting, this is something that is done without the knowledge of the person.  That is unbiblical by itself.  I am more inclined to think that she has something she wants to hide, that wouldn't show up in a background check.  Fingerprints at a crime scene she was never linked to yet?  Just my opinion.

JoshiRachelsMom
by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 5:35 PM

 

Quoting Mergath:

I don't generally have a problem with employers making accommodations for an employee's religious beliefs, but not if it means that the person can't actually do the job they were hired for, or if it jeopardizes someone's safety.  This, in my opinion, falls into the latter category.

You have a right to your religious beliefs. You DO NOT have a right to be a teacher or have a job for that matter. If these are the terms for employment, and she chooses not to comply, then she can also choose to find other employment  with less stringent requirements.

Fingerprinting is necessary for a proper and thorough criminal background check. If she is so concerned about fingerprinting and receiving the mark, then she can also, where and if permissable give a dna sample. But, given how young fingerprinting technology is right now - it may not be thorough and complete.

tericared
by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 5:39 PM


Quoting athenax3:

This woman, though entitled to her religous beliefs, shouldn't be teaching children if she isn't willing to comply with the rules and regulations and safety measures to do so- period. Not to mention if heaven forbid she wins this ludicrous case, she has opened the door for pedophiles and criminals to do the same, further complicating and enlongating the already ardurous path to capture, track and identify those who are dangerous to our children and our society.

 

I agree

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mmtosam06
by Bronze Member on Dec. 1, 2009 at 5:42 PM


Quoting Talee:


Quoting tericared:

OK I am all for people practicing their religion as they wish...But I was a Christian for over 20 years and never took those verses to mean that nor did I ever hear anyone else determine that finger prints means the mark of the beast....It also says in the Bible that we are to follow the laws of our land.... as long as they are not unjust......

Wow

 


I know....this is pretty far out there...


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themountainmama
by on Dec. 1, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Ok, she sounds like a lunatic to me.  Keep my kids outta her class. 

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