Temecula, Calif. A first-grade student's presentation about the Star of Bethlehem was cut short when a teacher interrupted her and demanded she sit down and told the class that they are not allowed to talk about the Bible.
Brynn Williams, 6, brought home a "share" bag as part of a school assignment. Brynn's teacher had given every child in her class a canvas bag with verbal instructions to find something at home that represents a family Christmas tradition, put it in the bag, bring it to school, and be prepared to share the family tradition, according to Robert Tyler, General Counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom,
Brynn took the Star of Bethlehem from the top of the family Christmas tree to represent her family's tradition of remembering why Christmas is celebrated. Brynn worked diligently on a one-minute presentation in order to explain to the class that her family's tradition is to remember the birth of Jesus at Christmas time.
During her one-minute presentation she was explaining 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 star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The 3 kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world. John ….," began Brynn.
Brynn short presentation ended abruptly when her teacher "Stop right there! Go take your seat!"
Brynn was not allowed to finish her presentation by reciting the Bible verse, John 3:16. She was the only student not allowed to finish her one-minute 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.
The incident at Temecula Valley Unified School District happened just one week after a teacher in the West Covina Unified School District school told Isaiah Martinez, a first-grader, "Jesus is not allowed in school" when the student brought a candy cane with a religious message.
"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 the Temecula Valley Unified School District 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," he continued.
Advocates for Faith & Freedom sent a demand letter to the Temecula Valley Unified School District demanding that a new policy be adopted to prohibit school officials from expressing disapproval or hostility toward religion or toward religious viewpoints expressed by students. The letter also demands that TVUSD provide a written apology and allow Brynn the opportunity to complete her speech during class.
The co-counsel attorney, Nic Cocis, said he has experienced religious persecution as an elementary school student in communist Romania before his family immigrated to the United States.
"The censorship of Christianity was something I came to expect in Romanian schools, not here in the United States," said Cocis. "I don't want my kids to experience what I experienced as a Christian in Romania."