Freedom of Thought

Ano⁠t⁠her ⁠t⁠eacher f⁠i⁠red for rel⁠i⁠g⁠i⁠ous express⁠i⁠on

September 5, 2023

Freedom of Thought

September 5, 2023

Sean Redmond, beloved coach and teacher in Garden Grove, California, was fired for standing up to the Garden Grove school board and questioning the ethics of their policies. Redmond worked as a teacher and coach for 34 years, dedicating his professional life to helping kids learn and develop into confident adults. 

When his administration began requiring teachers to withhold students’ gender information from parents, he pushed back. He also decided not to implement a quiz the administration developed to help kids identify their religious, political and sexual affiliation. Instead, Redmond did what he had done for 34 years – he taught his students to think critically and come to their own conclusions. 

Upon learning Redmond was not implementing these new policies in class, the school board led a campaign against him, accusing him of brainwashing students with right-wing ideology. In July, the school board fired him. 

Redmond is a Christian who has aligned with a conservative ideology outside of the classroom. When he felt the school board went too far and asked him to do something that went against his personal religious convictions, he was demonized and fired. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one this has happened to. 

For many teachers in America, the choice is either to get in line with promoting an ideology that goes against their religious beliefs or suffer the consequences. This is the tragic outgrowth of a system that claims to value diversity yet squelches religious and ideological diversity at every level. 

A recent survey found that three out of five Americans don’t share their religious or political beliefs outside of work for fear of repercussions at work. This creates a dangerous precedent for all of America, especially in education. Redmond believed parents had a right to know what was going on with their kids at school. He believed it was wrong to force a certain ideology on his students. He believed differently about gender and sexuality. And for those beliefs, he will not get the chance to set up his classroom this year.

Freedom of speech and religious expression are at the core of who we are as a country. Having a diverse America in every meaning of the word is one of our country’s greatest strengths. We need more people like Sean Redmond who are willing to stand up to oppression, regardless of the cost.

Photo courtesy of @imjessicatapia