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Oklahoma School Conspires to Harass Atheist Family

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#1
Ungodly

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ATHEISTS FILE CIVIL RIGHTS SUIT IN "OKLAHOMA OUTRAGE" - SMALKOWSKI PRAYER BULLYING CASE

American Atheists filed suit in federal court Friday August 12, 2006 in a case involving charges of "prayer bullying" and conspiracy to violate the civil rights of an Atheist family.

In November, 2004, Nicole Smalkowski -- a student at Hardesty Oklahoma High School and member of the female basketball squad -- was ordered by her coach to participate in a game-time recitation of the "Lord's Prayer." Ms. Smalkowski, an Atheist, refused and was then banished to the locker room. Days later, following a meeting of school officials, she was punished by being removed from the team.

The suit charges that Nicole and the rest of her family were then made the victims of false accusations and "subjected to public humiliation and distress." Her father, Chester Smalkowski, tried to meet with the School Principal who "struck Plaintiff Chester Smalkowski repeatedly without warning or provocation." Incredibly, a warrant was filed against Mr. Smalkowski who was arrested and scheduled for trial. Officials with the District Attorney's Office in Texas County, Oklahoma then offered a deal where charges would be dropped if the Smalkowski family agreed to leave the jurisdiction.

He refused the buckle under to the intimidation.

Represented by attorneys Tom Gungoll and American Atheists National Legal Director Edwin Kagin, Smalkowski endured a five-day trial that included a grilling of the school district superintendent. Mr. Kagin patiently explained to the jurors what Atheism was. Many of the prospective jurors opined that they could not believe the word of an Atheist over that of a god-fearing Christian, and were struck for cause. Some, including the wives of two local ministers, admitted that they were incapable of being fair to an Atheist in such a situation.

Attorney Tim Gungoll told the jury panel that he was a Roman Catholic, but that the facts of the case -- not the religion of any of the parties -- were of primary importance.

Chester Smalkowski was acquitted unanimously.

The federal suit, filed Friday in US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma names a battery of defendants including school officials, the Texas County Sheriff's Department, County officers and the Town of Hardesty, Oklahoma. It charges that the family's constitutional rights were violated under, but not limited to, the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments. It also charges that school officials "unlawfully and unconstitutionally met in conspiracy to violate (the) Plaintiff's constitutional rights."

In addition, it is charged that members of the District Attorney's staff "conspired ... to punish Plaintiff Chester Smalkowski for his religious views by prosecuting a criminal case against him" that they knew "to be grounded on false statements and perjury."


The suit notes that a year after the first incident involving Ms. Smalkowski, she once again tried to participate in the girl's basketball team. Again, Coach Ernest Cook "attempted to force Plaintiff N.S. to recite the "Lord's Prayer." Ms Smalkowski instead "chose to recite the Pledge of Allegiance." This time, the suit charges, Nicole Smalkowski was punished by school officials who falsely accused her of "threatening another student." She was suspended "without a Due Process hearing or notice, as is required by Oklahoma Statutes." Eventually, she was suspended and denied her statutory right to a hearing.

A school board member and her husband, a Texas County Deputy Sheriff are identified and charged in the lawsuit as conspirators who "attempted to hire, coerce, or otherwise convince, for payment of money or other consideration on school property, one Jerry Kelly to inflict personal harm on Plaintiff Chester Smalkowski in retaliation for his religious opinions and in further retaliation for Plaintiff Chester Smalkowski's attempt to defend his daughter and family against the false and malicious allegations..."

Another charge focuses on a Deputy Sheriff who ostensibly ordered the submission of falsified policy reports and attempting under false pretext to have Mr. Smalkowski re-arrested. Other allegations listed include:



#2
Unbeliever

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Wow, this one you should post at EA in the "Why do atheists care about religion" thread! this is truly outrageous, and I hope the Smlkowski family gets $millions$ out of those bastards, who should also do some very hard time! Good for Smalkowskis for not knuckling under!

#3
Frozenwolf150

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She could have just gone with something like this:

Our fodder
Wart unleavened
Hottub beehive mane


And nobody would have been able to tell the difference! :D

By the way, here's my favorite psalm.

"It's a man's obligation to stick his boneration in a woman's separation. This sort of penetration will increase the population of the younger generation."

#4
lady

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This topic has come to the front again. The family was recently on 20/20. Comments can still be read on ABC news. ATHEIST in a TOWN of BELIEVERS

Edwin Kagin attorney for American Atheists also had a blog about it.  BLOG He represented the family. I believe they still have a case against the school or something.

There is a free issue of American Atheists on their website that gives more of their story and Edwin Kagin's role.
MAGAZINE

Earlier this year I had googled sites for atheists songs. I found a site that had words concerning atheists in foxholes. I sang the songs and made some little web pages. The address of the person writing the words was given and I wrote asking permission to use the songs. That person was Edwin Kagin. He sent me some other songs he had put words to. I learned that he and his wife were the ones who started Camp Quest and that he is the attorney for American Atheists.  I subscribe to his newsletter. So I am interested in reading about him.

The songs he wrote lyrics to are:Atheists in Foxholes  Atheists Have Served  They're Back in Their Burkas Again    Home Do Not Change

You can hear me singing his marvelous words on one of my web pages that are in my signature.  :Tounge: :Tounge:

#5
Ungodly

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Great work, Lady!  I can tell you put a lot of effort into this, thanks for sharing it.

I subscribe to the American Atheists newsletter, and find the organization to be highly admirable.

I'm glad to see you posting again :-)

#6
Storybook

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I saw a clip on TV about this story.  Disgusting.  I hope Edwin Kagin helps this family to sue the pants off of all those involved.

Lady, thanks for the info and link about Kagin.



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