Notter, the Broward school superintendent, was in a board meeting on Wednesday morning when a reporter called for his response. A secretary in his office said the meeting was scheduled by School Board Member Ben Williams.
“Ben Williams and Jim Notter will both be there,” Guice said. “We have also asked for the principal, [Karlton O. Johnson] to be present.”
The meeting stems from a March 11 incident at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, where two teachers who profess the Christian faith are accused of sprinkling holy water onto another teacher who is an avowed atheist.
That teacher, Schandra Rodriguez, filed a complaint alleging that Djuna Robinson and Leslie Rainer sprinkled her with holy water, according to the women’s attorney, Johnny L. McCray Jr.
The alleged sprinkling happened as Rodriguez was in her classroom, talking about the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti with students. During the discussion, Rodriguez talked about the Bible and the fact that she does not believe in God.
Through their attorney, Rainer and Robinson have denied the sprinkling allegations. They insist that Robinson stood in the doorway of Rodriguez’s classroom, and merely held up a bottle of perfume. The gesture followed one student’s remark that, “Somebody needs some holy water,” in response to Rodriguez’s comments about religion.
On April 23, Robinson and Rainer were reassigned and escorted off school grounds. They were instructed not to return to the school without permission, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation.
Some members of the clergy expressed concern over the Christian teachers’ removal based on the unsubstantiated accusation, and the fact that no action was taken against Rodriguez’s discussions about atheism in the classroom.
“The church has taken an interest and a stand on this issue,” said the Rev. O’Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center, which is near the school where the alleged sprinkling occurred.
Dozier said he will attend the meeting with school officials.
“We need to know why they have been removed from the classroom, and who requested it,” he said.
The meeting is scheduled to take place in Notter’s office on the tenth floor of the district’s downtown Fort Lauderdale headquarters at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, June 4.
“We want the teachers reinstated. That’s the first issue. We also want them to rectify the atheist doctrine that has been taught to these children,” Guice said. “How they do that is somewhat up to them, but this entire situation has been mishandled.”
Pictured above is Broward School Superintendent Jim Notter, below is Rev. Mathes Guice and Rev. O"Neal Dozier, bottom.
IF YOU GO:
WHO: Broward School District Officials and clergy
WHAT: Meeting about alleged holy water incident
WHEN: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: K. C. Wright Building, Broward County Public Schools headquarters, Superintendent Jim Notter’s Office, 600 SE 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale