Some parents in Colorado’s Lewis-Palmer School District 38 are howling over the hire of a Christian teacher and former reality TV star because of his religious views and perspective on education.
Heather Yuen is among a group of parents who complained to the school board for hiring seventh-grade English teacher Chris Jueb, who was featured with his wife and 16 kids on TLC’s “Kids By the Dozen” in 2007, according to The Gazette.
“He may be a good teacher, but my family doesn’t follow the views and things he’s done in the past,” Yuen groaned. “I don’t like the fact we’re being taught by someone we don’t align with.”
The complaint is one conservative parents have leveled at liberal activist teachers in classrooms across the country for decades, only to be rebuffed.
Yuen is among about 10 parents of students at Monument Academy to complain to the school board in June that hiring Jueb the month prior was “too controversial.” Don Griffin, the school’s executive director, said the complaints centered on Jueb’s religious views, and false internet articles about alleged abuse in the teacher’s home that was later debunked. Some also complained because of Jeub’s support for homeschooling and views on gender and learning.
The district launched an investigation, conducted background checks and interviewed Jueb’s children, including some who attend or have graduated from Monument. Griffin said the investigation found no concerns. District officials also pointed out Jeub has served as a substitute teacher in several district schools without issue.
“Some parents initially objected to the fact that he was an evangelical Christian with strong religious beliefs, and old internet articles that spoke about possible abuse with his children,” Griffin said. “Some parents took the avenue ‘If it’s on the internet, it must be true.’
“This is a case where we’ve seen a person’s character and personality attacked on social media, many times anonymously, many times with malicious intent. The people that were behind this always made it very clear that it was about religion, and they wanted him fired. Period. It was a personal vendetta.”
Jeub runs debate and speech camps for Training Minds Ministry, and will serve as debate and speech coach at Monument Academy, and the complaining parents are worried his Christian views could infect their children.
“There are a lot of things going on that are kind of shady,” Yuen said. “I’m afraid these kind of influences will be brought into the classroom, and at this age, children are very (impressionable).”
Griffin pointed out there’s laws in place that prohibit Jeub from teaching religion to students, and Monument Academy, a public charter school, takes those laws seriously.
“Obviously, the regulations of the separation of church and state and all that goes with that hold true,” Griffin said. “We live in northern El Paso County, and I do have a lot of staff members who are people of faith – a wide variety of faith But we do not encourage, tolerate or allow any kind of religious teaching or tenets.
“We are a charter school, not a Christian school, and I am fully aware of how to teach in this environment,” he said.
Jeub taught in both Minnesota and North Dakota before moving to Colorado to work for Focus on the Family, a Christian conservative organization, Raw Story reports.
Jeub has denied allegations of abuse made by one of his older daughters in 2014 and he told the Gazette the allegations were never investigated by police or social services.
“The allegations that were made four years ago and have been proven to be false,” he said. “I haven’t made public rebuttals because, frankly, I am more interested in reconciliation with my daughter. This is a personal family matter that has been difficult on all of us.”