First Grader Humiliated by Teacher for Talking About the Bible

Brynn

The war against Christians continues apace in our public schools.

by Susan Frommer | Top Right News

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, an attorney now 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.

“After Brynn took her seat, the teacher explained to Brynn in front of all the other students that she was not allowed to talk about the Bible or share its verses,” Tyler said.

Gina Williams learned about the incident after she picked her daughter up from school.

“She thought she had done something wrong,” she told me. “She thought she was in trouble. I told her she was not in trouble and I was proud of her. I tried to comfort her on the way home.”

The following day Williams met with the principal.

“The principal confirmed that Brynn’s teacher did the appropriate thing by stopping her mid-presentation and there are specific education codes that protect the school,” Williams said. “

The principal then asked Brynn, who had tears in her eyes, to come into her office and deliver the same presentation that was censored in the classroom. Afterwards, the principal stood by her decision.

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

The principal reportedly told her that Brynn could write about her beliefs in a journal but she was not allowed to share her beliefs aloud to any other student — a clear violation of law.

Tyler sent a letter to the school district demanding they apologize to Brynn and change their policies limiting religious liberty.

“The disapproval and hostility that Christian students have come to experience in our nation’s public schools has become epidemic,” he said, warning that should the school district ignore their concerns, they will file a lawsuit.

The school district issued the following statement:

“The Temecula Valley Unified School District respects all students’ rights under the Constitution and takes very seriously any allegation of discrimination. Due to the fact that District officials are currently investigating the allegations, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this time.”

It’s not the first time the school district has found itself in hot water over religious liberty violations. Last October, a seventh grade student was publicly ridiculed by a teacher for reading the Bible. The classroom assignment had been to read a non-fiction book. The teacher told the student in front of the class that the Bible was fiction and refused to give him credit for the assignment.

Tyler said it’s clear that the district violated Brynn’s constitutional rights.

“Any act to suppress a student’s free speech, in this case censorship of Brynn’s presentation of her family traditions, has violated Brynn’s constitutional rights unless the school district can reasonably conclude that Brynn’s speech was going to materially and substantially disrupt the school’s work or discipline,” he wrote in a letter to the school district. “Here, the school district cannot reasonably come to that conclusion.”

Utterly disgraceful suppression of basic 1st Amendment rights. I hope this family sues the school for a small fortune and force them to dismantle their policy of bigotry against Christians.

IF YOU ARE OUTRAGED at how the Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School humiliated this wonderful little girl, and denied her right to religious expression — even after asking her to bring in a “traditional Christmas item” — then feel free to contact the district administrators at the following contacts:

Temecula Valley Unified School District
Timothy Ritter, TVUSD Superintendent
Email: tritter@tvusd.k12.ca.us
Telephone: (951) 506-7904

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  • Daniellia Bogert

    OK…File a lawsuit, the principle clearly stated the law its not a state issue.. It’s Separation of Church and State. Yes the teacher should have just had the kid seat down, have a talk with her after class and explain the situation. But still she isn’t allowed to talk about her beliefs..

    • Eric Weeks

      Dear Daniellia –

      Thought
      I’d drop you a note regarding our Constitution since it seems some do not have a full grasp on some of its meaning.

      What the Constitution’s First Amendment does say is that government shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

      Do you know what that means?

      It means
      that our government can neither FORCE citizens to follow a/any religion
      BUT neither can/will it prevent one of its citizens from exercising
      his/her sovereign right to follow a/any religion. In other words, there
      will never be a state-run religion but you, dear citizen, can freely
      exercise your religious rights.

      Even in a state-run school!

      You
      cannot, by LAW, prevent someone, even a child, from speaking about
      their faith. If Judy wants to talk about Barbie, she should be
      allowed. And if, let’s say, Brynn, wants to discuss Jesus, then it’s
      her Constitutional right to do so.

    • No…the teacher should have just let the girl complete the last 15-20 seconds of her presentation, thanked her, and moved on the next child. The 1st Amendment guarantees religious expression. The school will lose this lawsuit, unless it settles.
      Remember the girl was ASKED to bring in a “traditional family item” for “Christmas” — which commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Then when she talked about the birth of Christ, this bullying teacher yelled at her to stop, and humiliated her in front of all her classmates.

      And you defend this?

      • Laura ZZ

        I agree with you, John. The teacher set this child up. I’m surprised only one child did it “wrong.”

  • Charles Scarbrough

    Daniellia: You are apparently not learning very well at this terrible school. The correct spelling for the head of the school is Principal. The word you used is “principle” refers to a rule or concept. The student have every right to do what she did especially since she was asked to do so by the Principal. This country is dead wrong with they are defining “freedom of religion” and to continue down this path is dead wrong! Many families are home schooling their children because the quality of education is terrible and enforcing discipline is non-existent in my home state (Georgia).

  • Frances Webster

    The term Separation of Church and State is not found in the Constitution. It appeared in letters between two of our founding fathers. The first amendment makes it clear that Congress cannot establish a particular religion as the official religion nor can it abridge the individual’s right to free expression of religion. Teachers have restrictions as a condition of employment. The children do not. If we continue to allow others to chip away at our individual liberties, we will soon lose them all.

  • Emily Catherine

    I’d like to point out that the assignment was to find a CHRISTMAS tradition. Did everyone just ignore that, or forget that Christmas wouldn’t exist if it hadnt been for Jesus’ birth. Instead of punishing this SIX YEAR OLD for explaining something that she’s probably never given thought to because its her lifestyle and her parents taught it to her, maybe the teacher should be punished for making the assignment exclusively about a Christian holiday. If it was so offensive for a 1st grader to explain her beliefs, then maybe the assignment should have just focused on Frosty and Santa which have no religious connotation. When you ask about Christmas, expect to hear about Christian beliefs. This nation is so afraid of Christianity, yet wants to be all-inclusive of other religions and lifestyles (except Christianity). I don’t get why our nation is so scared for people to hear about a religion other than their own for fear of offense and “feeling persecuted”. If we were never exposed to germs, we would have no immune system built up, and we would all get sick. Sometimes it’s good to merely hear what the world has to offer outside of our individual bubbles. Especially these young first graders. Shouldn’t we be preparing them to be more educated about the different beliefs of the people of this world, and be able to know what they believe in when they are old enough? But of course that would NEVER happen in our country, because if it isn’t what society believes, you have no say, and absolutely no freedom of speech.

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