Wednesday, June 08, 2016

School Sends Sheriff to Order Child to Stop Sharing Bible Verses

A public school in California ordered a seven-year-old boy to stop handing out Bible verses during lunch — and it dispatched a deputy sheriff to the child’s home to enforce the directive.

“This is a clear, gross violation of the rights of a child,” said Horatio Mihet, a Liberty Counsel attorney representing the first-grader who attends Desert Rose Elementary School in Palmdale. They are also representing his parents, Christina and Jaime Zavala.

Here’s the back story:

Mrs. Zavala made it a practice of including a Bible verse and an encouraging note in her son’s lunch bag. The boy would tell his friends about the note and read them aloud at the lunch table.

It wasn’t long before children asked for copies of the notes and Mrs. Zavala obliged — including a brief note to explain the daily Bible verse.

On April 18, a teacher called Mrs. Zavala and said her son would no longer be able to share the Bible verses because he was “not allowed to share such things while at school.”

Liberty Counsel said the school would only allow the child to distribute the Bible verses outside the school gate — after the bell rang. It said the teacher told Mrs. Zavala that her son “could no longer read or share Bible verses or stories at lunch” — citing “separation of church and state.”

So, Mr. and Mrs. Zavala complied with the school’s clearly unconstitutional edict. But on May 9, the school’s principal decided to implement a complete ban on the Bible verse sharing.

Liberty Counsel alleges the boy was ordered to stop handing out notes because “it was against school policy.” The principal told the boy and his father to move to a public sidewalk. They complied with the principal’s demand.

It would be just a few hours later when the Zavala family heard a knock at their front door.

“The deputy sheriff said he had been sent by the school,” Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast told me. “The deputy went on to tell the parents that the school was worried that someone might be offended by the Bible verses.”

Liberty Counsel said the deputy sheriff was not belligerent or threatening. The family was not served with any sort of legal documents. It appeared to be a “friendly” warning.

“It was outrageous and should shock the conscious of every freedom-loving American,” Mihet told me. “Apparently all the real criminals have been dealt with in Palmdale — and now they’re going after kids who share Bible verses during lunch time.”

Raul Maldonado, the superintendent of Palmdale School District, told me they are reviewing the matter and consulting with legal counsel.

“I can confirm the District’s understanding that a member of the Sheriff’s department visited the home,” he said. “However, the District is not yet clear as to the specific nature of that engagement.”

It appears to me that the deputy sheriff was dispatched to the home as part of a strategy to intimidate the Zavala family.

“I would expect something like this to happen in Communist Romania — where I went to elementary school — but cops don’t bully seven-year-olds who want to talk about Jesus in the Land of the Free,” Mihet said.

Students do not check their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door, he said. “If students are permitted to pass out Valentine or birthday cards at school or to talk about Superman and Captain America at lunch, they cannot be prohibited from sharing Bible verses and discussing their faith during their free, non-instructional time,” Mihet told me.

Liberty Counsel is demanding the school stop its policy of suppressing and censoring student religious speech. If it fails to comply, the school could face a federal lawsuit.



Anonymous said...

Remember this would otherwise also allow Muslim parents to use their children to promote Islam in the schools. So better for a school not allow any such religious promotion within the school. Schools should not be used by parents as a means of promoting their own religions or beliefs, especially as it's well-known that young children are easy targets for indoctrination. But using the police to enforce a school policy of non-religious promotion seems a bit unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

The Department of Education has an entire sourced webpage dealing with this. The basic standard is that the school can restrict or limit speech during instructional time. During non-instructional time, (such as lunch time and free periods) the school has no say in the matter.

It makes one wonder how these so called educators get away with either being ignorant or with deliberately trampling the rights of children. (see tinker v. Des Moines.)

This is one of those cases where the principal and administration is so inept or corrupt that they should lose their jobs. Period. As it is, the school district will have to defend the lawsuit, lose, and then complain there there is no money in that school. Well here's an idea: let the principal and the administration pay for it. The cop too.

Bird of Paradise said...

But Das Kapital allowed

Anonymous said...

Even common sense suggests any topic should be fine for children to discuss between themselves outside of instructional hours, like lunch times.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:12 - I have no problem with Muslim, Mormon or Methodist children sharing religious talk in their own time at schools.
I do, however, have a HUGE problem with school administrators telling children they are permitted to talk about religious matter in free time during the school day.
This school is either deliberately acting against the law - in which case they should be fired for corruption - or ignorantly trampling the law - in which case they should be fired for stupidity.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

We no longer have schools their Indoctrination centers for Big Brother and the NWO

King Condor said...

Our school system sucks becuase of the NEA and the leftists reptiles

Anonymous said...

8:04 - this was not a case of children merely sharing religious talk in their own time at school. A parent was supplying her child with copied material of a religious nature to hand out to the child's school friends. This might have arisen without much forethought, but could also have been a deliberate tactic by the parent to proselytize gullible children in an underhand fashion. The school should have the authority to stop the distribution of sectarian material, whether religious or political, but not to stop students merely chatting about such subjects. Would you mind your children getting a diet of Islamic literature at school brought in by a Muslim student to distribute, or can't the school or the law prevent it?