Friday, January 17, 2014

Teacher and Principal Tell 6 Year Old Student She Can't Talk About Religion in School

The parents of a six-year-old girl said their daughter was humiliated when a teacher interrupted the child’s one-minute speech and told her to sit down because she’s “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school,” attorneys for the California family allege.

The incident occurred Dec. 19 inside a first grade classroom at Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School in Temecula, Calif. The previous day the teacher instructed boys and girls to find something at home that represented a family Christmas tradition. They were supposed to bring the item to school and share the item in a classroom presentation.

Brynn Williams decided to bring the Star of Bethlehem that adorned the top of her family’s Christmas tree. She also worked on a one minute presentation to explain that her family’s tradition is to remember the birth of Jesus at Christmas time.

“Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree,” the little girl said. “The star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world.”

Before the child could utter another word, the teacher intervened, according to Robert Tyler, the general counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom – the law firm representing the Williams family.

“Brynn’s teacher said, ‘Stop right there! Go take your seat,’” Tyler said. “Bryn was not allowed to finish her presentation by reciting the Bible verse, John 3:16.”

Tyler said the little girl was the only student in the class not allowed to finish her presentation.

“She confirmed there was no way Brynn could finish that presentation,” the disappointed mom told me. It was to protect the other students from being offended by Brynn’s presentation.”


But a talk about the Koran would have been treated with great respect, of course.


Anonymous said...

Difficult to understand how a "Christmas tradition" or even a family related one might not bring up the subject of the Bible story in some way. The teacher was foolish to require such a project that ended in humiliating small children who didn't understand the subtlety of school regulations or the law.

Anonymous said...

Funny how those who told us that this PC crapola would never lead to censorship, well, WE TOLD YOU SO!

Anonymous said...

anon 4:33, this is not about children who "didn't understand the subtlety of school regulations or the law," which is illegal (children do have freedom of speech). This is about a liberal anti-christian crusade hell-bent on removing any mention of god, hoping it will turn kids into good obedient socialists drones who will not, let alone be able to, think for themselves.

This is censorship plain and simple. And its about freaking time we put a stop to this once and for all.

I don't care if the kid wants to talk about christ, Mohammed, buddha, satin or whoever, as long as its part of the assignment let them talk.

"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives."

- Robert Heinlein

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:33,

The US Department of Education summarizes the law in instances like this and says:

Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Such home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school. Thus, if a teacher’s assignment involves writing a poem, the work of a student who submits a poem in the form of a prayer (for example, a psalm) should be judged on the basis of academic standards (such as literary quality) and neither penalized nor rewarded on account of its religious content.

The California Constitution goes further:

"Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all
subjects, being responsible for the abuse ofthis right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberfy ofspeech or press."

A 9th Circuit Decision notes that the California Education Code extends protection of speech further than the US Constitution:

Lovell By & Through Lovell v. Poway Unffied Sch. Dist.,90 F.3d 367,371 (9th Cir. 1996) (citing Cal. Ed. Code a8907(a)). "The Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment guarantees only limited protection for student speech in the school context. . . . . The California Education Code extends students' free speech rights while on campus to the same extent those rights may be exercised outside of the school context." Lovell By & Through Lovell at37l.

Finally, this school district's own policies were ignored by the teacher and the principal:

Board Policy 6141.2 (a) expressly states that “students may express their beliefs about religion in their homework, artwork and other class work if the expression is germane to the assignment.”

There is no subtlety for the child to understand.

It is the teacher and the principal who ignored the law(s) and policies.

Dean said...

It's tempting to claim the teacher and administration in this instance are anti-Christian. In reality they are more likely ignorant of the constitutional and legal right of students to talk about religion. Or, even more likely, are terrified that some nut-job will sue the school for 'offending' another student by mentioning religion.

No matter what their motive they are wrong. The child has the right to speak about what Christmas means to her.

If parents are offended and complain, show them the constitutional right of free speech, legal decisions concerning the right to discuss religion as part of an assignment, and then show them the door.

Anonymous said...

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. What does the teacher think Christmas is about ? What kind of a stupid assignment would be about Christmas without expecting mention of Christ. I am an atheist, but I think that this is horrendous example of PC nonsense run amok !

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo hoo

Anonymous said...

As everyone ought to know (who isn't extremely ignorant) the Christ-Mass was a Christian Church decision to celebrate the birth of Jesus officially at the very same time as the well-established pre-existing "pagan" winter-solstice festivals. In other words, it was conveniently piggy-backing or hijacking the previous popular festivities to put the focus on the Church instead. Ironically, the Christmas season has effectively returned to a secular festival, and the apparently naive teacher thought the kids would just talk about presents from Santa or eating turkey, etc.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest here..... if this is ignorance on the part of the teacher and the principal, it is ignorance at such a level they should not have a job.

On some level, I can understand not knowing the Constitution and its grey areas as pertaining to a school. I can understand not knowing the California Education Code.

But there is a specific rule that deals with this very situation in the District Handbook. For the principal not to know what is in the handbook is ignorance that is akin to incompetency.

One can bet that if the kid had an aspirin, a small toy gun, etc, the teacher and the principal would be able to cite the District policy when the child was suspended. The school would also say to the parent, "that is our policy and as a parent, you should know it."

So why isn't the same standard applied to the teacher and the principal? Why should they not know the very policies they want and demand parents and students know?

Furthermore, this incident took place back in mid-December. Why is the school district still investigating? How hard is it to place two phone calls - one to the teacher and one to the principal in over a month?

I won't attribute this to an anti-Christian bias because there is no evidence that other religious views were allowed to be presented. Yet at the very core, this is a case of profound incompetency at the school level and such incompetency should neither be tolerated or allowed.

Anonymous said...

The teacher set up the kid. She had to have known that at least one of the kids would have mentioned religion so the evil bitch could slap some poor kid down for the kid's belief. I have a hard time buying that the teacher and admin didn't know the law.