Teacher Fired For Giving Student A Bible Wins Legal Battle, Gets Job Back


After Tutka was suspended in October 2012 and terminated in January 13 over the Bible act, he refused to back down.

Teacher Walter Tutka
Teacher Walter Tutka

A substitute teacher from New Jersey who was fired in 2013 after giving a student a copy of the Bible has reportedly been reinstated following a settlement between him and the Phillipsburg School District where he was employed.

Walter Tutka first found himself in the crosshairs back in 2012 after a student reportedly asked him for a copy of the Bible and he complied. As The Blaze noted at the time, it all started one day when the student was reportedly last in line before leaving the classroom and Tutka proclaimed, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last,” referencing Matthew 20:16.

The student was curious about the quote and reportedly asked Tutka about its origins. That’s when the teacher showed him the verse in his copy of the New Testament and then gave the book to him, thus sparking the years-long controversy.

As a result, the district felt Tutka had violated a policy that involves staff not handing out religious literature and another that requires them to be neutral when it comes to religious issues, though many of Tutka’s supporters felt that the teacher had handled the student’s questions in a balanced and appropriate way, the Express-Times reported at the time.

After Tutka was suspended in October 2012 and terminated in January 13 over the Bible act, he refused to back down, with the conservative legal firm First Liberty stepping in to tackle his case.

Two years after attorneys filed a complaint with the federal government, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed with Tutka’s argument that he was discriminated against based on his religion and First Liberty was given the clearance to move forward with a potential lawsuit, the district reportedly settled, according to conservative commentator Todd Starnes.

“We are really pleased we accomplished the mission we set out to achieve — restoring Walt Tutka as a substitute teacher in Philipsburg,” Hiram Sasser, an attorney with First Liberty, told Starnes. “We always knew Walt complied with all school district policies and federal laws, the EEOC agreed, and now Walt is returning to his service to the community in Philipsburg.”

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