A substitute teacher in New Jersey who was fired after giving one of his students a bible filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday.
In the complaint, Walt Tutka, a substitute teacher for the Phillipsburg School District, alleges that he was the recipient of religious discrimination and retaliation, the Warren Reporter says.
According to Tutka, his maltreatment began after an incident that occurred on Oct. 12 last year. Tutka had approached a student that was standing at the back of a line, saying, “The first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first.” The quote is a popular verse from the Bible.
Tutka alleges that the student became fixated on the quote, “repeatedly” asking him to explain its origins. In response, the substitute mentioned that the quote appeared in the Bible, and asked the student if he owned a copy.
When the student said that he did not own the Bible, Tutka gave him a pocket-sized version that he was carrying, his complaint states.
Less than a week later, Superintendent George Chando told Tutka that he was recommending his termination owing to the Bible incident, The Daily Caller reports. By Jan. 14, Tutka was fired.
“I believe that I have been discriminated against in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and retaliated against regarding same,” Tutka’s grievance states.
The Liberty Institute, a Christian legal defense organization, will team with a local New Jersey firm to represent Tutka’s interests.
“It is shocking that the school district has forced Walt to file a complaint with the EEOC for religious discrimination,” Liberty Institute litigator Hiram Sasser told The Warren Reporter. “All Walt did was respond to a student’s intellectual curiosity, and the school district suspended and then terminated him.”
The nonprofit organization also alleges that the Phillipsburg School District ignored a request for emails and documents pertinent to Tutka’s case, the Daily Caller reports.
Superintendent Chando has yet to comment on the case.