An attorney says a long-time New Jersey substitute teacher who
was terminated because he shared biblical truth with an inquisitive
student shouldn't have been fired for merely satisfying the
Last October, Walter Tutka told a student who was last in a line
to leave the classroom that "the last will be first, and the first
will be last." After the student reportedly asked numerous times
about the phrase, Tutka showed him Matthew 20:16 and offered the
child his personal Bible, which the student accepted and later
returned, according to The Express-Times.
But as Hiram Sasser of the Liberty Institute
reports, the school board suspended Tutka for the remainder of the
school year for breaking two district policies: one that prohibits
school employees from distributing religious literature at school,
and another that requires educators to remain neutral while
discussing religious materials.
"Certainly this is religious hostility and religious
discrimination … by the school district that was totally
unnecessary," Sasser contends. "There has been no complaint, and
all he was doing was satisfying a student's intellectual
He further points out that the school board is violating its own
policy by showing hostility toward one particular religion.
"Here we have a teacher who was being asked where a common
phrase, quotation -- 'the last shall be first, and the first shall
be last -- where did that come from," the attorney relays, "and the
teacher simply was providing the text and resources to identify
that common source."
Sasser says Tutka is currently considering his legal options. It
is unclear whether he will be able to re-apply for his position on
the approved substitutes list next year.