Teacher denies punishing student for religious beliefs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher being sued for reportedly punishing a student for not believing in God has responded to the allegations.

In June, a student and his mother filed a lawsuit against Michelle Meyer, a second-grade teacher at Forest Park Elementary, claiming she interrogated the boy about his beliefs and required him to sit alone and not talk to his classmates during lunch for three days. The suit claims Meyer violated the boy’s First Amendment rights and caused him great distress as a result of being “ostracized by his peers past the three-day ‘banishment.’”

This week, Meyer answered, filing responses to the lawsuit’s claims.

Meyer denied the suit’s claims and insisted she never punished the student, identified only as “A.B.” in the suit. Meyer said she had a conversation with the student but said it was not directly about the boy’s belief in God, adding he was free to believe what he wanted.

Meyer said she was concerned with his “admission that he did not care about the impact of his words on another student,” the response read.

Meyer’s attorney also said the teacher told the student should planned to call his mother, according to the response.

In the response, Meyer asked the court to award her court costs and attorney fees.

Last month, in response to the suit, Fort Wayne Community Schools said an internal investigation found no merit in the allegations and said Meyer acted appropriately in dealing with what the district called “an issue between students in a significantly different manner than detailed in the lawsuit.”

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