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People We Love :: Matthew LaClair

Reading, Writing, and Rights

When his 11th-grade history teacher told the class that they would go to hell if they rejected God’s salvation, Matthew LaClair thought the remarks crossed a line.

He brought the issue to the attention of school administrators. After stalling by officials and harassment (including a death threat) from students who supported the teacher, LaClair and his parents ultimately reached a settlement with the school district. Students and teachersreceived training on the separation of church and state.

LaClair has continued to work for civil liberties, and he received an ACLU Youth Activist scholarship this spring.

This fall, he started his first year at Eugene Lang College, where he works with the Secular Student Alliance and serves as president of the Center for Inquiry on Campus, which promotes science and freedom of inquiry in education.

Matthew LaClair
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Noah Grant wrote this article as part of Sustainable Happiness, the Winter 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Noah, YES! Editorial Assistant, is an activist for LGBT rights. Photo of Noah Grant
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