An advocacy group is claiming that a teacher at California’s Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School showed undue hostility toward a first grader’s faith last month during a presentation about holiday traditions.
According to a press release from Advocates For Faith & Freedom, Brynn Williams was speaking to her class about her family’s Christmas tradition when her teacher abruptly stopped the address and said that Williams is “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school.”
It all started Dec. 18 when the child was sent home with a “share” bag. Her teacher reportedly assigned the class a simple task: bring in something from home that is representative of how each family celebrates Christmas.
So, when Williams returned to school the next day she brought with her the family’s Star of Bethlehem — a tree topper — and explained during her one minute presentation how her family’s tradition is to keep Jesus at the center of Christmas.
“Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree. The star is named the Star of Bethlehem,” Williams reportedly said. “The three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world.”
Advocates For Faith & Freedom claims that the teacher stopped Williams and told her to sit down before finishing the remainder of her speech, which was purportedly set to conclude with John 3:16.
The verse, considered one of the most popular Bible verses among Christians, reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The group also claims that the teacher told Williams in front of the other students that she was not allowed to share Bible verses in class.
Advocates For Faith & Freedom has taken up the case and is speaking out against what it believes was improper behavior on the part of the teacher.
The group sent a letter to the Temecula Valley Unified School District asking that educators stop “expressing disapproval or hostility toward religion or toward religious viewpoints expressed by students.”
In addition to this blanket request, Advocates For Faith & Freedom is also asking that Williams receive a written apology and that she be allowed to finish her speech in front of her peers.
“The disapproval and hostility that Christian students have come to experience in our nation’s public schools has become epidemic,” said Robert Tyler, General Counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom. “I hope that TVUSD will take the lead role in adopting a model policy to prohibit this abuse that has become all too common place for religious-minded students.”
The district provided an statement to TheBlaze Tuesday afternoon.
“The Temecula Valley Unified School District respects all students’ rights under the Constitution and takes very seriously any allegation of discrimination,” it read. “Due to the fact that District officials are currently investigating the allegations, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this time.”
This story follows another case taken up by Advocates for Faith & Freedom last week involving 6-year-old Isaiah Martinez, who claimed that a teacher in a different California school district told him “Jesus is not allowed in school” before removing a religious story the child affixed to candy cane gifts he planned to distribute to his peers.
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