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Tea Party Patriots Rally To Support 1st-Grader's Jesus Presentation

The Temecula rally was held in support of Helen Hunt Jackson first-grader Brynn Williams.

Rally participants, Jan. 21, 2014. Courtesy photo.
Rally participants, Jan. 21, 2014. Courtesy photo.

Despite only one side of the story being told, nearly 100 people turned out for a rally at Helen Hunt Jackson Elementary School in Temecula to support a family who allege their little girl was denied her freedom of expression rights by a teacher at the campus.

“It was nice and peaceful. This is how our town works,” said rally organizer Ernie White, who is a member of OccupyTeaParty.net, the group largely responsible for getting the word out about Tuesday’s rally.

White and the others turned out in support of Helen Hunt first-grader Brynn Williams. Her story was first shared Jan. 14 on Patch after an attorney representing her family drafted a demand letter accusing a Helen Hunt teacher of stopping the child from finishing a presentation about the Star of Bethlehem and what it meant to her family at Christmas-time.

According to the seven-page Jan. 13 demand letter from Murrieta-based Advocates for Faith & Freedom attorney Robert Tyler to Temecula Valley Unified School District’s superintendent and board president regarding the alleged Dec. 18, 2013 incident at Helen Hunt, 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.”

Brynn’s presentation was allegedly part of an assignment from a Helen Hunt teacher.

“Brynn's teacher had, over the course of approximately three weeks, 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,” the demand letter alleges.

The letter goes on to state that Brynn began to tell her class how “the three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the savior of the world. John...,” but was suddenly stopped by the teacher after the word “John.”

Brynn was told, "Stop right there! Go take your seat,” the letter alleges.

White admitted Tuesday he had not read the demand letter, but said religion was not his reason for organizing the rally.

“This is about freedom of expression,” he said.

Several rally participants turned out Tuesday carrying signs bearing quotes from the Bible, but White said he would support any student in this same situation, no matter the faith.

White, who has in the past protested against mosques in Temecula, was asked by Patch if he would support the child if she were of Muslim faith and had brought something to school representing that religion.

“We would support them in a minute,” he said.

Also at the rally Tuesday was Murrieta resident Diana Serafin, an Occupy Tea Party Patriot who helped spread the word about the rally. In an email she sent out to her database, she called on “Patriots” to “Bring your Bibles or other worship material.” 

When asked why the group chose the elementary school campus to rally at, Serafin and White said the point was not to intimidate or frighten children but instead to support freedom of speech.

The protesters were lined up along Paseo Gallante and Camino San Dimas streets, and never set foot on campus, Serafin said. Some rally participants carried American flags, another the yellow and black Gadsden flag depicting a coiled rattlesnake with the famous “Don’t Tread on Me” phrase. Other rally participants carried signs with slogans such as “Know Your Rights: Read the Constitution.”

Murrieta City Council Mayor Pro Tem Henry Ramos also turned out to support Brynn and her family, and what he said are the “rights of all Americans.”

“I was really taken aback by the story,” Ramos said. Speaking Tuesday, he had a message for Brynn: She is invited to a Murrieta City Council meeting to give the presentation she was allegedly not allowed to finish.

“I would love that opportunity,” he said.

For its part, the Temecula Valley Unified School District is still not releasing any comments on the matter, although district spokeswoman Melanie Norton said Tuesday that a statement is expected once the district has finished its investigation of the matter.

Norton could not confirm nor deny whether the alleged first-grade assignment was specific to Christmas.

“I honestly do not know,” she said.

southernbelle January 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM
@Terri-I'm sorry my posts were confusing to you. I can understand you're concern about my credibility and consistency when reading them, timing them, and taking notes with wrong judgement in tone and intention. I hope my explanation, whether we agree or not, helped you to understand me better. As I said, I passionately believe we all get offended too easily by unnecessary things that would give us so much more freedom from bondage of hatred and much softer hearts if we allowed love to cover a multitude of these offenses. But that doesn't mean to become a back-patter, dispassionate about speaking up for our own views, and love certainly does not mean sugar-coating every word. Gosh, I remember Jesus calling some people pretty harsh names, and a few disciples calling people out and telling them--no holds barred--exactly what's what in not so warm fuzzy a word. That being pointed out--yes, I do speak frankly and rarely use warm fuzzes when I am defending my view in passionate form, and will describe behaviors exactly as I see them, much like Jesus did. *smile* I generally would not have responded this second time with anything other than "yes..friends," except that you've misunderstood me again and I feel it is important to straighten out because it is a key point in my opinion. That is, I was not saying "the parents" needed to do their homework. I think the parents did exactly the right thing. I'd have done that also. I also have compassion for the way they were mishandled by the Principal--as I have experienced the exact same thing--and with the exact same teacher (only not in regards to this same type issue). I believe Principals think they are keeping parents calm and holding off the "crazy" by using this Principal 101, strategy. Ugh!! I think it fuels the fire! Anywya, my point is, when I said they should have done their homework--I was referring to the protestors! I think it idiotic and completely irresponsible to protest anything that you know ONLY half the story of!! They didn't yet know if this story was even true, what the facts IN the classroom that day were surrounding this precious child's 1 minute share, or if there was some other reason she was stopped. I believe kids can communicate well with us, but let's not forget they speak "kid." And as a parent of older children--I have learned that sometimes "kid" does not transfer the same in ADULT context. So it is only responsible for anyone planning anything that might or WILL cause public attraction to a situation to do their homework and learn BOTH sides of the story. Only then can one be properly equipped to firmly stand up for their rights and views. Look at one more snapshot of what I'm saying…if lack of doing homework and hearing both sides, should/would/could end up making this protest a mockery for some reason because it ends up being discovered that there was a solid, acceptable reason this child was stopped… then not only will the protestors (especially those holding scripture) look foolish to those who oppose their view, but worse, they will have misrepresented God. Give them no wood for the fire. friends.
Terri Anderson January 25, 2014 at 07:01 AM
southernbelle, the protestors tried to get both sides of the story. The school board clammed up and refused to comment until almost a month later when the principal and teacher's statements were finally released. Their statements would have been much more believable to me had they been released immediately and not almost a month later when they have had time to gather information, get their stories straight and think up some good excuses for their actions. This situation was handled poorly by the school officials from the very beginning. The parents approached the principal with their concerns and were met with an immediate and outright defense of the teacher. That was really all the parents needed to escalate the matter. People rarely get all sides of the story, especially when one side is refusing to talk (Benghazi sound familiar). I submit that the only reason the school board finally released the statements was because of all the press this story has generated. The main reason it received so much press was because of the protest and possible litigation. The protest accomplished what it wanted to accomplish. I can't stress enough people's right to free speech and to protest. My husband is an attorney who is a constitutional scholar. He taught a free classes on the constitution that lasted for 66 hours a couple of years ago. I attended those classes and learned how our rights are being taken away from us one by one and we are allowing it to happen to us by not standing up for ourselves. I, for one, will never give up a right, no matter how small it may seem. If the First Amendment falls the rest are sure to follow. I would rather have my children grow up in a world where people are free to protest than in a world where they can be put to death for protesting - like what happens in some countries. If we allow our rights to be taken from us we will surly regret it one day. My children see me and my husband out in our community being active in politics, educating people on their rights, suing when rights are violated and rendering service to our community with our God-given talents. We can't be intimidated into submission by the establishment and we have celebrated many victories, large and small, because of our refusal to allow any of our rights be taken away from us. They will never have to ask us what we did to help save our country when it was going down the tubes. You can't worry about the "haters". They hate, that's who they are and they won't change, so ignore them. They have a right to hate. You can't carry on a normal conversation with them because they let their anger get the best of them and they lack common sense. The protestors were not in this group. They were peaceful people who wanted to bring a concern to the public's attention when it was being stifled by the school board. They succeeded and are happy with their results. Some may agree with them, some may not but they exercised their rights and that is what is ultimately important. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived his life leading people in peaceful protests and look what he was able to accomplish in his 39 short years. Because of his efforts we now have a black family living in the White House and official segregation is a thing of the past, so protests definitely have their place in our world.
CB January 25, 2014 at 10:41 PM
Southernbell, i do in fact have children, one being a first grader at this exact school. I happen to know that the parents are the one who put together these presentations and then help their child memorize and recite them. It was the parenrs who put the assignment together. It was to talk about a family tradition, being what do you DO with your family for the holidays? So unless she was reciting the bible because its what her family recites, they missed the traditional part and focuses on BELIEFS. And like I said, yes, its true I dont think that six year olds are old enough to be learning of different religious beliefs. Think about it. They're barely learning the concept of the most basic math, spelling, and writing. While a 6 year old is learning of their family beliefs still, how confusing to swirl their minds to be told one thing their short learning lives thus far and then have others tell them different, basically telling them their beliefs are wrong. Is it so wrong to give parents the time and right to really instill their kids beliefs and have them keep it at home until an appropriate age? And Terri, my feelings on how to raise my kids on spiritual beliefs comes from my own experiences of being forced to believe in a religion at a young age that I didnt buy into. I'd like my kids to do some thinking on their own which religion, if any, they believe for themselves and not because I told them since they were born what is true. My beliefs may not be religious, but I do still hold beliefs and morals that I instill in them. I have had my own talks with my kids about religion, but I keep it completely unbiased and dont go into great depth and detail. Even if I dont have a religion, I still understand that others do have theirs, some being highly important in their family, and that there are several religions. Also the fact that these are kids and that other families with other views should be respected and allow them to continue teaching that portion to their young children until they're older. Religion is not part of the curriculum for a reason. I think the issue is that according to the parents and attorney, the teacher shoul have clarified limits, and then made a further mistake of shouting and embarrassing Brynn. But the parents made it worse by calling attorneys and putting their childs name and face everywhere. I think the entire thing is silly really. Theres some things that call for action, but i think this did further harm to the Brynn.
Sew Good January 25, 2014 at 11:00 PM
CB- You "dont think that six year olds are old enough to be learning of different religious beliefs"? So do you just keep them in a bubble until they are a certain age before you allow them to have any beliefs? That's totally ridiculous! For centuries, from the beginning of time, cultures have raised children with faith and belief. There is nothing confusing to the little darlings. They can grow up with one belief and flip to a totally different way of thinking. To remain aloof on the subject is doing your children a disservice.
CB January 25, 2014 at 11:26 PM
People want to teach their child something as sacred as religion until that child is old enough t really grasp it and be strong enough in it. So if you have a religion that is important to you to teach your child, no I wouldnt imagine you'd want something contradicting while they havent fully understood their own. We arent talking about 16 year olds. Its first graders. Everything has an appropriate age of when to explain things and six years old is simply not mature enough to understand the complexity of religion in the world. Six years old is old enough to be told that there are different beliefs, but there shoild be a limit with how much in depth that goes. In ten years i wouldnt cre at all. I think thats old enough to have the capacity to do their own thinking. Until then, values and morals are enough for me.
CB January 25, 2014 at 11:42 PM
And you're right, people can be taight to believe one thing and grow up to believe something different on their own. That's what happened with me, growing up and deciding I didnt believe in what I was raised to. But dont you think that parenrs should have that privelage to teach their child what they want and not have it imposed onto them by other parents? Because this assignment wasnt written up by Brynn, it was written up by her parents and prepared for her to say. The assignment instructions were misunderstood because it was supposed to be on traditions, what they did with their family for the holidays. It wasnt supposed to be about what their belief is. Its out of respect for other's beliefs that it was stopped at the verse taken from the bible. The teacher felt it was getting off topic and away from the assignment and that other parents may not appreciate it being taught to their kids. Its not a religious course. It was meant to help children improve writing skills and get used to giving speeches and presentations. Religion is too heavy for basic learning.
Sew Good January 26, 2014 at 01:20 AM
CB, sharing a holiday tradition is absolutely connected to a belief. The child was sharing. There was no "heavy religion" in her speech, I don't care who wrote it. Sharing her tradition, religion, or belief is in no way disrespectful to the rest of the small kids in the class. If the world had to follow your way of thinking no one would learn anything new at all!
Terri Anderson January 26, 2014 at 05:22 AM
CB: The assignment given by the teacher was to do a presentation on a family holiday tradition. The assignment was given a few days before Christmas and the made their presentations the day before they celebrated the holiday in their classroom. Christmas is associated with Christ in most Christian homes. I'm not a teacher but I would be surprised if some student didn't bring up a tradition surrounding religion given the date and criterion of the assignment. You said, "...how confusing to swirl their minds (first graders) to be told one thing their short learning lives thus far and then have others tell them different, basically telling them their beliefs are wrong." Do you teach your chidren about Santa Clause? Even four-year-olds can grasp the idea that some sweet man dressed in a red suit and lives in the North Pole, gets into his reindeer driven sleigh and brings toys to good little girls and boys. Then, when they get a little older someone tells them that their beliefs are wrong and that there is no Santa. Most of us have experienced that and we live through it because by the time we hear about there being no Santa we are mature enough to accept and handle it as well as understand why our parents told us there was a Santa. If we teach our children about our religion and someone comes along with something they like better when they are a little older, they will be able to handle it. I was baptized when I was only one month old into my parent's religion, as I grew up I realized that their religion wasn't for me. I switched religions three times before finding my current one almost 27 years ago. With each switch I learned more and more about God, so my parents raising me in their religion wasn't a bad thing, it gave me a firm foundation on which I was able to build. You can't keep your children in a bubble. If you don't teach your children what you want them to know someone else surly will teach them something they want them to know (like there is no Santa).
Terri Anderson January 26, 2014 at 05:29 AM
CB: At 11:42 pm you said, "Because this assignment wasnt written up by Brynn, it was written up by her parents and prepared for her to say". The president of the United States has his speeches prepared for him by someone else. Brynn's parents are just preparing her to be the president one day, lol.
southernbelle January 26, 2014 at 01:58 PM
@Terri--just to clarify my view--I DO believe protesting is a beneficial and necessary stance. It is that I think the protest should be well informed first. However, I'm giving you this one because you made a strong point that I agree with--if it is the protest that brought this to light to the public so it could be investigated and made right for the child, the teacher and the school--straightened out, and peace made---than it was beneficial as far as that point is concerned. My disagreement is that it was staged without being informed on both sides. But I'll raise the white flag because I definitely agree that it needed to be brought to light and investigated. @CB- I would love to agree with you as far as keeping children from being exposed to behaviors, attitudes, religions, other content that could be harmful or confusing for them because I also want my children to NOT be worried about anything other than being a kid. And of course I want to be the number one influence in their life because I obviously think I know what is best--and this is my right! But I can't agree with you because it's not reality. How I wish it were because I love my children so much I HATE the idea of their innocence and child-peace to be robbed by people around them. But they will. Ex: You can tell your child all day long not to talk sassy, why it's unacceptable, and even not accept it in your home. But the minute that child turns on tv, every cartoon character is talking sassy and "influencing" your child. My point--doesn't matter what you think you are protecting your child from--they are CONSTANTLY being influenced against your personal wishes all day long. Sitting at a table at lunch with a friend talking about her sunday school isn't anything you can keep your child from. and I assure you--that lunch table talk has a helluva lot more influence that a 1 min presentation in class. Lastly, you're thinking in "adult context," think about lunch tables again--what one eats another will not. our kids are constantly hearing and seeing things that oppose what we've taught them yet they manage to be okay. But I do understand where you're coming from and the point you're trying to make, but the truth is, we can't protect our children against differences--and in this day, we are doing them a disservice if we try.
Alek J Hidell January 26, 2014 at 03:43 PM
there is no tea party that I can see. However there is Rand Paul on the horizon. Christie is done. Paul would be like Goldwater in 1964. but Hillary Clinton in 2016 is no Jack Kennedy... Goldwater was a dark horse....so is Rand Paul. interesting race 2016...... sky should be falling about then..hehe
James Banks January 26, 2014 at 09:48 PM
When my daughter was in first grade she came home very upset, in tears, because some Christian brats had told her that she was going to hell because she didn't believe in "God and Jesus". I did my best to assure her that a loving god would never harm her, but the angry gray-haired old man who sits on a throne in the sky and spies on us doesn't exist...just a made-up story. I also explained that the USA doesn't exist "under God", that it's a lie, and she doesn't have to say those words in the pledge she was forced to repeat every day, but suggested she not make a big deal of it. As a result she felt empowered by her little secret, able to defeat the bogey man "God" and the aggressive "Christians" who pushed him on her. She grew up to graduate as high school valedictorian and magna cum laude from college, and is a leader in her Unitarian church.
southernbelle January 26, 2014 at 10:07 PM
@James, "good story, bro." -__- thanx for being relevant. lol
James Banks January 27, 2014 at 12:52 AM
Maybe my point was cloudy, but young Brynn was exploited by her parents to jam fundamentalist religious proselytizing into a public school classroom. It's stunts like this that have ended my tolerance of "Christian" bullies to the point that I actively oppose them. I called the parents of the kids who attacked my daughter with scare propaganda and told them I would sue them if it continued (it was an idle threat, but seemed to have worked). If it were Brynn's own heartfelt testimony it would have been shorter and sweeter. It's hard to reason with adults who worship a angry God that demands the blood sacrifice of children (Passover, the crucifixion of Jesus) to atone for alleged transgressions. The Judeo-Christian tradition is cruel and barbaric, and merits no place in our public institutions.
Terri Anderson January 27, 2014 at 06:55 AM
James, you are the one who is angry. The protest was very peaceful, no anger involved. Brynn was doing an assignment that her teacher told her to do, helped by her parents and is in complete compliance with the Constitution. The fact that you are angry and don't like religion is clouding your judgment. Let me get this straight, you are saying the Judeo-Christian tradition is cruel and barbaric so it doesn't belong in our public institutions? The schools teach plenty of things that are barbaric and cruel; slavery, WW1, WW2, the holocaust to name a few. Brutality is a part of our American and world history. On 9-11-2001, 3000 innocent Americans died when Muslims flew airplanes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, do you hate Muslims also or just Christians? I am sorry that you think God is an angry God, I find Him kind and loving. It is obvious that you don't understand the gospel. I feel sorry for you.
Terri Anderson January 27, 2014 at 07:05 AM
You sound very wounded James. Anger is not an emotion, it is a reaction. I find most angry people like you have been injured and believe that God must not exist because if He did He wouldn't let bad things happen to people. The Unitarian Church doesn't sound like anything I would be interested in but if it works for your daughter, good for her.
Terri Anderson January 27, 2014 at 08:13 AM
southernbelle, I find that children learn more from what they see their parents do than from what we tell them. We can tell them all day long not to lie but the second they see us lie, it will undo all the talking we did. I try to lead by example and it has worked pretty well for me. My children are grown and I have 6 grandchildren ranging from ages 1 to 17. My 4-year-old grandson tonight gave me a big hug and kiss and told me that he loves me soooooo much. It melted my heart. He initiated it which tells me we are doing something right, I get the same thing from each one of my children and grandchildren. I make sure that I have a personal relationship with each one of my children and grandchildren. My 17-year-old granddaughter is fantastic. She rides and trains horses, her sister is into golf and both are very good at their chosen hobbies. Both are home schooled and as sweet as can be. They have strong faith in God and have an inner happiness that I just don't see in too many kids their ages these days. The bible tells us to train up a child in the way we want them to go and when they grow up they will not stray from that path. I worked hard at doing that and I am reaping the rewards of my efforts because it turned out to be true. By the same token if we don't set an example for our kids that leaves it wide open for others to fill their heads with garbage. I know what you mean about TV. What works(ed) for me was using shows as a teaching moment. I would point things out like, did you see the way she sassed her mom? Do you think it makes her look good? What would have been a better way for her to talk to her mom? Questions are great because it makes kids think. Funny story: I used to read Miss Manners to my daughter. I would give her a scenario, ask her what she would do then tell her what Miss manners said. My daughter hated when I read Miss Manners to her, but I didn't give her an option. We did it. Now, as an adult she sees someone do something and bends over to me and teasingly says, "Mom, she needs to read Miss Manners". We both get a chuckle out if it and she tells me how thankful she is that I made her read Miss Manners. My daughter remembers the stories and how to handle the situations. She grew into a well-rounded person. She has never tried drugs or alcohol, she has many friends, is the life of every party she goes to, my friends love her and she has a deep faith in God. I guess I am saying that faith was - and is - a big part of our lives, it was a positive thing, not negative in any way. While I am a believer, I would never push my religion on someone else. Religion has helped me and my family. I am not proselytizing and I don't think Brynn or her parents were, either, although some think she was. Merely mentioning religion or talking about it is not proselytizing. People are free to make their own decisions, a one-minute presentation on a Christmas family tradition certainly won't convert anyone in the class listening to the presentation. Besides, it couldn't be any worse than watching Miley Cyrus doing her dirty dance on TV at the American Music Awards or watching her riding naked on a wrecking ball. Our forefathers fought and died so we can have the freedom to talk freely and openly, I will defend that freedom with everything in me. And I really don't give a rip if people get offended by what I have to say, they have the right to skip over my comments.
TVOR January 27, 2014 at 07:11 PM
If the parents contrived this situation just to push their agenda, then shame on them. If the teacher's account of what happened is true then I don't see an issue.
Serge Fjetland January 28, 2014 at 12:05 PM
"Tea party advocates hold rally supporting fictitious events, in an attempt to allow prayer where it is already welcome" I fixed the title for you. Is ANYONE actually surprised this turned out to be a fictitious event? The story rings so hollow i'm surprised a church hasn't mounted it as a bell yet! The teacher stopped the girl from speaking after going over her time limit, and followed the girls speech with a QA session: sure sounds like persecution to me!
TVOR January 28, 2014 at 12:14 PM
Serge, truth is not really a big concern for those pushing an agenda nowadays. It's all about perception. Just look at the mainstream media, they publish out and out lies to further their agenda and they are rarely held accountable for it.
southernbelle January 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM
@Terri- I'm not sure why you addressed me in particular or what the purpose of what seemed to read like parenting advice (??) is for? Just in case your heart is concerned for me, the well being of my children and/or how I am raising them, I assure you they are all doing quite well; healthy, happy, making good decisions in life, good students, good choices on friends, having fun, compassionate, generous, good humored-beautiful and precious children! *smile*
Terri Anderson January 29, 2014 at 07:05 AM
southernbelle, January 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM post: not parenting advice, when I read your post about you wanting the best for your kids I got nostalgic, it was late at night and I missed mine :) I am sure you are doing great with your children. As far as the lunch table talk you mentioned earlier, that's why I mentioned my son and his wife homeschool their kids. They do not get the lunch table talk, they don't have to deal with the "mean girl" issue that is so prevalent these days. It is much easier for them to control the negative influences in their lives and we are seeing many positive results. A bunch of little Donna Reed kids running around their house.
Terri Anderson January 29, 2014 at 07:20 AM
Steve, Christie already apologized for the bridge deal. He even fired the person on his staff who perpetrated it. In the current administration, amidst all of the scandals, no one loses their jobs. Attorney General Eric Holder was found in contempt of congress for not turning over documents in the Fast and Furious scandal. What consequences has he had? None. What has Obama done about Benghazi? It is being reported that Charlene Lamb, the one who denied proper security to the embassy (even after the Ambassador requested it numerous times), is being trained for a higher position that is being called "a reward". She refuses to answer the questions Congress is asking her, so now she will be in Canada where Congress won't be able to touch her.
CB January 30, 2014 at 12:10 AM
Nope, i dont teach my kids about santa claus either. Like i said, i dont enforce any religious beliefs or speak negatively about any beliefs, as i leave it to my kids to decide on their own because i view teaching those specific beliefs as a sort of "brainwashing" if you will. And thats how i do things in MY home. Others can do as they wish in their home as long as its not harmful or detrimental. And as for the assignment, of course i know holidays are based off of religions. But when you're talking about traditions, thats not meant to speak about beliefs and recite bible scriptures. Some exmples of tradition is going to church, openng presents, family gettng together, etc. Talking about Jesus and the stories in detail are beliefs, not what you do for the holidays. If she said for christmas she goes to church to pray and talk about jesus, then thats a good presentation following the outline. But notice the teacher wasnt said to have stopped her until she was reading scriptures. And not teaching religion to 6 year olds doesnt mean that it will inhibit anyone from learning about the many different ones later in life. The age, maturity, and importance is what makes a difference. How important is religion to families? Very. How mature is a 6 year old? Not enough to begin learning what other religions entail. Give children and their families respect by allowing them to learn and teach their own first. How far are you willing to go? If you fight for and accept one religion in grade schools, then you HAVE to accept all. So unless you're prepared for your very young child to possibly start questioning the beliefs you are still in the process of instilling, it shouldnt be a part of school. I remember other religions being mentioned in history classes, but it was because it pertained to the section and did not go greatly into detail, like scriptures being read. The presentation started getting away from the assignment and was cut off. And the reason why i brought up that the parents outline the presentation is because everyone is acting like it was this little girls words and now shes caught in the middle of it. Shes the one having to suffer for it and have all her peers talk about her. And not only that, my point wa s that the teavher talked to BRYNN when she shouldve talked to the parents only. Brynn just said what her parents told her to say, and therefore she shouldnt have been lectured, especially in front of class.
CB January 30, 2014 at 12:23 AM
Southerbelle-oh i know i cant keep my kids in the dark about any belief, thats not my goal. But right now, i dont want it in a learning environment. If anyone here has children this age or has children at all and can liok back to when they were this age, or even if you can remember back decades when you were this age, these kids look highly on their teachers and what is taught in the curriculum. They respect their teachers and take what they learn very seriously. Thats why i dont want it being taught in school. This includes assignments. I really want my children to get to a more mature age where they can comprehend religion well and decide what they believe. I dont want them being told it in a setting where they see it as a trustworthy place to find truth. Teach them math, writing, reading. Truth. For now. Anyways..this was blown out of proportion. Im curious though, what is the teacher's side of the story? All i have heard is what the lawyer has submitted
Terri Anderson January 30, 2014 at 04:36 AM
CB, January 30, 2014 at 12:10 AM post. My family has a tradition where we reenact the birth of Jesus and read bible scriptures. I would most certainly have my child do her presentation on that, complete with the bible verses. If the teacher doesn't like it she shouldn't give an assignment like that. "Christ" is in Christmas and many people have religious Christmas traditions. After all, it is a day when we celebrate His birth.
southernbelle January 30, 2014 at 07:15 AM
oh, it pains me to enter back into this conversation--I had hoped it would've finally died out. But since you specifically addressed me @CB, I don't want to be rude and not acknowledge. First…*GASP* decades??? how dare…. oh. -__- you're right, ugh… *time flies* evens, I do remember my kids at this age coming home occasionally with questions or even just repeating things that were "taught" as well as heard at the lunch tables. I respect your choice to parent as you feel fit and so I respect your view of not wanting anything outside of your comfort being taught or talked about. But I will tell you this, since I have the advantage of hindsight, these are some of the best moments you can have with your children. You almost can't choreograph better teaching moments! These conversations help your child strengthen their trust in you as a parent. It shows them they can talk to you about anything, that you are concerned about being involved with their lives, and they have a safe place to go when they feel confused or unsure about anything. There were several talks about different things my children came up against that they thought or knew, and sometimes didn't know--I felt differently about. Handled with gentleness, non-judgement, honesty and love, they grew stronger and able to develop and establish their own beliefs without feeling chastised or forced to believe mine or anyone else's. When parents repel and/or react to differences, it is usually because they find some level of offense within it--children see this reaction and quickly adopt it. We have to stop doing our kids such a disservice if we are EVER going to find some semblance of harmony WITH and AMONG all our differences--because our differences are not, will not, can not EVER go away. Lastly, you are not correct about family traditions. Traditions are actually deeply rooted in religion. Christmas/Holiday season, in particular, has several religious traditions that take place at that time (Kwanza, Hanukkah, baby Jesus, Winter Solstice, Bodhi). How interesting and educational it would be for children to sit and hear about each of the traditions that take place in their friends' homes among all this diversity--and THEN, when the parents ask "how was your day," imagine the colorful, teaching moments we can have about all of this. Religious, lifestyle, race, handicap, personality, (etc.) diversity is not something to fear, CB, it is something to be embraced (esp. in this day and age).
CB February 26, 2014 at 12:50 AM
Southernbelle, im late in reading your post, things got busy. But my kids have been coming home somewhat recently asking who God is. I try my hardest to keep it as fact, not pushing them to believe or not believe its true. And im fine with my 6 year old changing the channel to the shows about religion (as ive seen her do recently) because she wants to know what it is so many families have as part of their lives. I think my point is that kids are so excited about learning usually and they see it as a place where truth is brought to them. So i think if they were to learn religion in school, if it conflicts with their own, it could confuse them because it is a very complex subject. I mean, there are wars in the world over it. It is sensitive. I dont see why it is so offensive to keep it out of school at this point. My kids are growing up, theyre asking a lot of questions these past couple of years that are uncomfortable. Did you know that in i think its 5th grade kids have to get a signed permission slip to discuss puberty? In middle school and in highschool health class you get parental permission to sit in class to learn about sex and all that comes with it. Puberty and sex are things that will happen yet it is such a sensitive issue that the right is given to the parents first. Do kids talk about puberty and sex regardless? Of course. But to do it as part of education takes respect for these minors parents and guardians to determine. I know its not exactly the same thing as religion, but it is in the sense of importance and sensitivity for families.
TVOR February 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM
I think we should limit what is taught in school to only a very basic overview of what religion is and the most common religions of our time. It is not right to prevent students from expressing to other students their thoughts on the subject.
Sew Good February 27, 2014 at 02:06 PM
I find it ironic that there is such uproar and hate over a kid making mention of Jesus in the classroom while no one pays attention to what is in their child's curriculum. In middle school, my son's social studies class spent a month A MONTH on the history of Islam. They studied mosques, built mosques, and learned about the Koran. The book in use is being challenged for its inaccuracies but that doesn't stop anyone from teaching from it. This text actually credits Muslims for giving us the alphabet we use today. Not Arabians, Hebrews, or Phoenicians, but Muslims. Unfortunately, the same amount of time was not spent on the history of Christianity. And CB, I think it's sad that you are so afraid to teach your children about God. Maybe you could teach them how to learn and find information. God is not as complex as you'd like to make him out to be. I would suggest that you all learn who Jesus is first. Buddha and the Dalai Lama could offer your children some enlightenment, too. It certainly wouldn't hurt.

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