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Cherokee County teacher fights keep God in classroom | News

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Cherokee County teacher fights keep God in classroom
News, Schools
Cherokee County teacher fights keep God in classroom

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- A controversial story about school and religion centers around a metro Atlanta teacher who says God should be in the classroom. As is usually the case, there are two sides.

Sequoyah High School students are rallying around John Osborne, who is no longer at the school after talking about God in class. School officials say it was his call to leave, not theirs.

Osborne tells 11Alive he left because he wasn't supported by administrators.

Cherokee County Schools released a statement, making it clear that the teacher left on his own and is still employed. The statement read:

"Specific details about personnel matters in regard to current CCSD employees are protected and will not be disclosed.The Sequoyah High School teacher in question remains a CCSD employee and no disciplinary action has been taken against him; the teacher on Friday gave the school's administration notice that he would be taking leave this week."

Students noticed his absence, chanting "Bring back Osborne" in the halls of the high school.

"I do have the right to fight for what I believe in and talk about Jesus in the classroom," Osborne said.

Osborne claims he's talked God at school for years, and for years he's been warned against it. This time was different.

He explained the complaint was "that I told kids that if they smoked pot they're going to hell."

Osborne denies saying that. Even though administrators never asked him to leave, Osborne claims he did not feel supported so he's burning a week's worth of sick days. He's not sure when or if he will return.

"I don't know -- only God knows -- and I will pray about it," he said.

Gina Haygood has had a child in his class for three years. We asked her if religion was ever a problem.

"No. (My daughter) said that he would teach history and religion would be incorporated in to that," she explained.

"I was a proud mom to see all the kids my daughter is going to school with stand up for something they believe in," said Patti Carter.

However the protesting students have faith in Osborne. Many mistakenly assumed the school had forced him to leave. Their teacher talked to 11Alive to clear the air about why he's staying home.

"As I've grown in Christ, it has shown more in the classroom, and as it's gotten stronger, I just feel like I'm not going to change who I am. I'm not going to press my issue on you, but I'm going to be myself," he said.

Osborne will be out at least through the end of next week. Some students were late to class after the protest and were assigned detention because of that.

Osborne told us if there are any future demonstrations, he hopes class will not be disturbed. He also says he is considering a new career as a youth pastor.

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