Teacher talks christianity in class; tells kids they're goin to hell.
While Matthew does seem like a bit of a "trouble maker" (previously he caused some stir because he wouldn't stand for the pledge), he has a valid point and shouldn't be threatened by other students & teachers for voicing it.
I don't know how anyone could defend this teacher. From the sound-clips of the teacher, it's obvious to me that the teacher is crossing a line. Even if he is being a bit "baited" he should know better than to continue to talk about his personal faith in scripture in class. It's just not the proper setting.
The question about teachers voicing their political/religious opinions was put to the person-on-the-street in the local paper. And I honestly think that a teacher could get away with voicing their opinion of they said "It is my opinion that... blah blah blah ... but there are cases against this. If you want to know more, ask me outside of school. Lets get back to the topic at hand." Some more opinions previously posted on the Observer are archived at Google.
There is also a letter from Matthew's father posted on the Observer's editor's blog. His parents aren't suing; they just want acknowledgment. I have to respect that. If some teacher began discussing his sex life in class, and it was recorded, parents would definitely sue.
It's also interesting to note that the teacher in question, Paszkiewicz, has a poor opinion of public schools and home schools his own children. Why is he a public-school teacher then?