UPDATE — 12/4: Brooklet Elementary School released the following statement in response to Fox News’ reporting:
Brooklet Elementary School’s (BES) holiday traditions and especially those of Christmas are alive and well,” said BES Principal Marlin Baker. Bulloch County Schools nor BES’s administrators have not, nor do they plan to remove any student’s learning experiences about Christmas or any other seasonal holiday.
Unfortunately, today the school was terrorized by an intentional and vicious dissemination of untrue information that disrupted the good work going on inside. Fox News Radio Commentary Host Todd Starnes, acting on misinformation that neither he, nor his media outlet corroborated with the school system or Baker, misreported a story about student Christmas Cards being removed from the school.
The Principal of Brooklet, Marlin Baker, also adamantly denied the claims made by Fox News’ Todd Starnes.
“The decision to move the poster had nothing, absolutely nothing, at all to do with any type of religious conversation that is going on in the county,” Marlin told WSAV.
“[I am] disappointed. We are trying hard in this community to have a good, healthy dialogue and it seems the intentional spreading of this misinformation I see it as destructive,” Superintendent Charles Wilson added to the local news station.
One teacher even told WSAV that she was absolutely stunned such charges were made.
“I just couldn’t believe that someone would make up some things like that,” Becky Petkewich said.
A Georgia elementary school is at the center of controversy after administrators reportedly asked teachers to move a group of hallway Christmas cards out of the view of students.
According to Fox News, teachers at Brooklet Elementary School have displayed Christmas cards in the hallways outside their classrooms “for as long as anyone can remember.”
But, the cards reportedly disappeared after Thanksgiving break when administrators asked teachers to relocate them behind an office door so only employees can see them.
“They took down the cards so the kids can’t see them,” Robb Kicklighter, the husband of a teacher at the school, told Fox News. “Some of the cards had the word ‘Christmas’ and some had Nativity scenes.”
“It’s really sad because the students looked forward to seeing those homemade Christmas cards every year,” he continued. “It’s stirred a lot conversation. This has been a tradition and the kids are wondering what happened to the cards.”
[sharequote align=”center”]“It’s really sad…students looked forward to seeing those homemade Christmas cards every year.”[/sharequote]
The move comes after Americans United for Separation of Church and State reportedly filed a complaint with the district’s board of education asking teachers to curtail religious expression while teaching.
Teachers have now been reminded by the school district to refrain from using school resources to advance their personal faiths. For instance, teachers were reminded they are not permitted to include bible versus in their email signature lines.
Officials insist no actual policy changes have been made and that they are just enforcing existing rules.
“The Bulloch County Board of Education has not changed or adopted any policies prohibiting the rights of school system employees to practice their constitutional rights of religious expression,” Superintendent Charles Wilson said in a prepared statement.
Instead, Wilson said schools are simply abiding by the law.
“However, there has been a recent reminder from me to school principals about established legal requirements to which we must adhere,” he said. “The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, along with subsequent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, addresses these rights and restrictions.”
Nonetheless, a Facebook page has been setup in opposition to the crackdown.
Neither Wilson nor a spokesperson for the Americans United for Separation of Church and State were immediately available for comment to TheBlaze Tuesday.
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