A Michigan school district has removed a clause in their written policy giving hiring preference to non-Christians after they say they recently discovered it.

The clause in a teachers union contract in Ferndale Public Schools had been in effect for more than 30 years, but never invoked, officials said, according to Fox News.

“Any teacher may apply for a vacancy in a position considered to be a “Promotion” as defined in Section 2 above,” the clause read. “Special consideration shall be given to women and/or minority defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith.”

Image source: Michigan Capitol Confidential

Image source: Michigan Capitol Confidential

A spokeswoman for the school district apparently became aware of the clause after it was reported by the Education Action Group when Mackinac Center for Public Policy discovered it while reviewing teacher contracts, Fox News reported.

“Earlier this week, Ferndale Public Schools learned of antiquated language in employee contracts that we somehow missed when recently bargaining contracts,” Ferndale Public Schools spokeswoman Shelley Rose said in an e-mail.

“This language dates back to at least 1979, and is not in compliance with current legislation. Fortunately, the district also has newer and strong anti-discrimination language in the contracts and has never, in our known history, enacted this now out-of-date language,” she continued.

“Discovery of this antiquated language and the ensuing media storm is embarrassing to the district…”
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“Discovery of this antiquated language and the ensuing media storm is embarrassing to the district, but has afforded us an opportunity to update our contracts to reflect current law and long-time anti-discrimination practices,” Rose concluded. “Ferndale Public Schools takes the issue of discrimination seriously and has acted swiftly to resolve this unfortunate contract language issue.”

Nevertheless, a Mackinac spokesman says it’s possible the clause could have cost someone a job at some point in time.

“I think it definitely is possible that it either cost someone a job change or at one point dissuaded someone from changing jobs if they knew that clause existed,” he told Fox News.

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