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Teacher to First Grader: “Jesus is not allowed in school”

On December 13, 2013, first grader Isaiah Martinez took Christmas gifts intended for his teacher and classmates at Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District. Each gift consisted of a traditional candy cane with a message attached that recited the legend of the candy cane. The legend references a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah’s older sister told him about the legend of the candy cane and Isaiah asked if he could share it with his teacher and his classmates. Isaiah and his sister then purchased candy canes, printed the candy cane message and tied a copy to each candy cane.

When Isaiah brought his Christmas gift to school, his teacher took possession of the candy canes.Is faith allowed in school? After conferring with the school principal, the teacher told Isaiah that “Jesus is not allowed in school” and, at the apparent direction of her principal, ripped the candy cane message from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates. Isaiah then nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and “good tidings” to class.

We sent a demand letter to the West Covina Unified School District demanding a written apology and has demanded that a new policy be adopted to prohibit school officials from bullying and intimidating Christian students and religiously affiliated students.

A copy of the demand letter can be found here, which provides more depth to the facts as asserted by the Martinez family along with relevant legal arguments.

Robert Tyler, Advocates’ General Counsel, said, “Advocates for Faith & Freedom has experienced a surge in phone calls from students and their parents across the country who are victims of religiously motivated bullying; not bullying by other students, but bullying by teachers and school officials.” He continued, “The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that public schools are becoming a place of hostility toward Christian and other religiously-based worldviews.  It’s time to push the pendulum back in the right direction where kids can experience true tolerance without religiously motivated hostility from their teachers and school officials.”

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17 Responses to "Teacher to First Grader: “Jesus is not allowed in school”"

Joe Dickson says:

Shame on this school! When I was growing up I was given many pamphlets as a kid and adult and it didn’t matter to me because I was taught by my parents that we are Christians. I would throw away the pamphlet and eat the candy. Never once did I see one of my teachers take away any valentines cards with candy hearts or gifts that we gave each other. My mom would go buy special gift for a girl I had a crush on and she gave me a gift too. The action by that teacher plus the principal weak in the knees and faith is sickening!!! Son of God doesn’t need permission by unholy sinners. Jesus was holding this boys hand. God bless all those that stand up for the weak. They are weak but God is strong!

Donna Holland says:

Advocates for faith and freedom you are who we need to stand up against Gladd and whomever else may step on our rights. Wish you could be more vocal on the tv news when our freedoms are being violated. What upsets me is when I hear only our opposition on tv and no one defending us Christians. What this teacher did was shameful and a clear violation of freedom of speach. Makes me very angry. Hope you win this case and all others you take on. This country needs reminding the us was founded on Christianity Will keep you in my prayers.

Mark A Eselby Sr says:

I fine it “completely unbelievable” that this type of conduct is allowed to go on! Let alone being addressed to a young child “in first grade”? That teacher and principle should be fired and lawsuits presented against them for rights & religious infringment!
It seems it is Politically Correct to denounce Christian Beliefs while supporting and defending various other religions such as the hateful Islamic teachings?

Mari says:

I am a parent and live nearby this school. As a child, I grew up in West Covina and attended Vine Elementary. Because this hit so close to home, I decided to call the school directly and speak with the principal myself. However, I was told he was not in and when I proceeded to leave a message, the secretary interrupted me telling me she knew why I was calling. I can only assume they have received other calls regarding this situation.

I told her I was very upset about this and she responded saying that “the press has it all wrong” …. I then asked her what really happened to which she responded that “I cannot share that information but please give the district a chance to respond”. She also added “We love our children and the parents here are behind us”.

Really? Which parents? Isaiah’s parents? The ones who have sought legal counsel? I will be following this story closely and all parents and christian community, especially the local one, need to keep this school accountable!

Steve in Colorado Springs says:

Really, this shocks anyone? Never before has this aura of hate against Christians and Jews been so apparent. A Supernatural worldwide hate. Make no mistake, Satan’s minion’s are everywhere. Fromm your local school board all the way up to the white house. Prepare for Christ’s imminent return!

Thank you for not sharing says:

[…] Brynn’s incident at Temecula Valley Unified School District comes on the heels of a candy cane case involving West Covina Unified School District first grader Isaiah Martinez who was told, “Jesus is not allowed in school.” A copy of that press release was sent out by Advocates for Faith & Freedom last week and may be found here. […]

David Cay Johnston says:

In light of the written statements by the teacher and the principal (who notes she is a Christian), saying that the report above is not true in any way, I wonder what duty, if any, Faith & Freedom Advocates feels it has to examine whether it got the story wrong and, if agrees it got the facts wrong, to withdraw the account and to inform those who read it that the facts do not support what was written in the unsigned post.

If Advocates stands by its account, I wonder on what basis it does so.

And what consideration should be given to Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 19:19, Matthew 19:18 and other directives about bearing false witness.

The written statements by the teacher and principal are available by clicking here:

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