A substitute teacher who lost his job for showing his Bible to a student has filed a complaint against the Phillipsburg School District.
Walt Tutka claims religious discrimination and retaliation as the reasons for his dismissal from the district in January, according to his complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"It is shocking that the school district has forced Walt to file a complaint with the EEOC for religious discrimination," said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, which is representing Tutka with a New Jersey law firm. "All Walt did was respond to a student’s intellectual curiosity and the school district suspended and then terminated him."
Tutka was teaching in the Phillipsburg Middle School last fall when he told a student who was last in a line a quote from the Bible, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
The quote, Tutka said, prompted the student to ask several times where it came from, leading Tutka to show the student his personal copy of the Bible on Oct. 12. Tutka worked his last day in the district three days later, according to the complaint. The school board voted to fire him Jan. 14.
The EEOC informed Walt that mediation and legal action are among his options, according to a statement from the Liberty Institute, which is a nonprofit legal group "dedicated to restoring and defending religious liberty across America."
Phillipsburg School District Superintendent George Chando has not yet returned a call for comment about the complaint.