A ten year old elementary school student was told that her essay about God would not be accepted for her writing assignment and that the paper could not remain on school property.
Erica Shead, the mother of 10-year old Erin Shead said her daughter, a student at Lucy Elementary School in Millington, Tennessee was a victim of the hostility and persecution of Christianity taking place in public schools all over the country.
According to reports:
Erin Shead, a student at Lucy Elementary in Millington, Tenn., was told by her teacher to write about an idol she looked up to as part of a class assignment. The young student decided to write about God. She drew a diagram explaining why she “looked up to God,” one of the reasons being, “He is the reason I am on this earth.”
“I love [God] and Jesus, and Jesus is His earthly son. I also love Jesus,” the 10-year-old continued.
“God is my idol, I will never hate him. He will always be the number one person I look up to,” the young girl added.
When Erin’s teacher received her written assignment, she told the young girl that she was prohibited from picking God as her idol, and demanded that she start the class assignment all over again and choose a new idol. She was also told that her assignment with God as her idol must be taken home and was not allowed to remain on school property. (source).
After having the first essay rejected, Erin then opted to make her essay about Michael Jackson, which the teacher approved. Her mother, upon finding out about this incident, took issue with the school. She went to her local TV news station to expose the anti-Christian discrimination. The station aired her story (the video is below).
“How can you tell this baby, that’s a Christian, what she can say and what she can’t say?” Erica Shead asked of the teacher’s actions. She met with the school principal Dr. Detris Cane about the incident but received no formal response on the school’s policy. Since then, the school district issued a statement to WREG –TV explaining that the actions of the teacher were not in line with school policy and that students are permitted to mention God in their school work.
Beginning and End has chronicled numerous incidents of anti-Christian discrimination in the American school system. A first grade student was forced to remove a reference to God she was reading to honor her deceased grandfather on Veteran’s Day. At a public college, a professor made students do a project requiring them to write the name of Jesus Christ on a piece of paper, put it on the floor and then stomp on it. And these are just two examples of the anti-Christian bias taking place in schools and colleges today.
And as we have also chronicled, the bias is decidedly against Christians as public schools have accommodated Muslim students with all sorts of exceptions for their religion including foot baths, prayer rooms, a special prom just for Muslim girls and even changing sports practice times to midnight for the feast of Ramadan. Most recently an elementary school in Kansas made headlines for a huge display of the five pillars of Islam. In all these instances, it was the school itself promoting and accommodating a religion, not an individual student exercising their free speech rights. Yet in Erin Shead’s case, the mere mention of God in an essay was enough to be deemed inappropriate for school because of “separation of church and state.”
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. – 2 Timothy 3:12.
Jesus Christ prophesied that the Christians would suffer discrimination, bias and many forms of persecution all throughout the Church Age. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the name of Jesus are “ a stumbling block of offense” to those who have rejected The Lord. Pray for believers like Erica Shead and her daughter Erin to continue to contend for the faith and take schools to task who would violate basic rights of free speech and freedom in order to stop the name of God from even being mentioned.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. – Luke 6:21-23.
UPDATE: The Liberty Institute, a legal advocacy group that fights to protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of Christians, contacted the school on Erin’s behalf to explain to the school the legal error they were in barring Erin from writing about God.
“Of course students can talk and write about God in school,” said Liberty Attorney Jeremy Dys. “Young teachers, like Erin’s, have been barraged with so much false information for so long that they are afraid that a 10-year-old student’s coloring assignment might violate the First Amendment. That kind of intimidation by the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation is wrong and is precisely what Liberty Institute was founded to combat.”
After discussions with Liberty Institute attorneys, Shelby County Schools reversed the decision of their teacher and allowed Erin to turn in her original assignment about God. And, she earned an “A!”
Erin’s mother told reporters that she simply “wanted Erin’s right to be able to express herself not to ever be taken away again.”
“I just wanted every Christian to know that we have a right to be able to express ourselves,” she told the news reporter. “We understand that they’ve taken prayer out of schools, but they cannot take God out of our children.” (source).