Anti-Christian Censorship in the Public Schools
The case of a former kindergarten student whose art project with Jesus was censored by his New York school will be heard in an appeals court Friday.Then we have this:
Antonio Peck, the student, had drawn a poster with several religious figures with the words, “The only way to save the world,” for an art project that had to show understanding about the environment. Antonio meant to express his belief that God is the only way to save the environment, according to his legal representative Liberty Counsel.
The poster was rejected by his kindergarten teacher because of its religious content and he was told to create a second poster.
For the second poster, Antonio had children holding hands around the globe, people recycling trash, and children picking up garbage. On the left side of the poster was the figure of a bearded man wearing a robe that was kneeling on the ground with hands stretched toward the sky. Although the figure is not identified, Antonio said it was Jesus.
The second poster was allowed to be displayed on a cafeteria wall, along with 80 other student posters. But what made Antonio’s poster different was it was folded in half to hide the Jesus figure.
“Despite the federal guidelines on religion in public schools recognizing that students may include religious themes in assignments, school officials insisted on folding Antonio Peck’s poster in half to hide the figure they interpreted to be Jesus,” said Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “What a terrible message to send to students that everything is permissible so long as it is not Christian. These educators need educating about the Constitution and American history.”
HARRISBURG, Pa. — On the day President Obama addressed the nation’s schoolchildren, a middle school student donned an anti-abortion T-shirt to protest Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health care system.Chronically, school bureaucrats censor any religious expression in the public sector. But the Bill of Rights does not require that religious expression, coming from private citizens, must be censored.
The student wore the “Abortion is not Healthcare” T-shirt without incident until his fifth-period teacher sent him to the principal’s office. He was ordered to turn the shirt inside out because it might offend other students.
The boy’s father, William Boyer of New Cumberland, Pa., filed suit last Monday against the West Shore School District, alleging that his son, E.B., was unfairly censored by school officials on Sept. 8.
Valerie Burch, a staff attorney with the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the student’s T-shirt represented political speech, the most protected form of speech, even inside schools.
If the district does not have a dress code that prohibits wearing T-shirts, then it has to permit this one, she said.
The district’s dress-and-grooming policy prohibits clothing “which creates a hostile educational environment or evidences discriminatory bias or animus” or displays “inappropriate words.”
Boyer is seeking to have the district’s policies struck down and to remove any references to disciplinary action from his son’s record. He also is seeking damages such as court costs and attorneys’ fees.
Perhaps some of this is just timidity. Principals and school boards are used to being scared of secular forces (usually including the ACLU), and in the past have seldom had trouble from people defending relgious freedom. To a degree this is changing, but it’s pretty obvious that the cases that get publicized and get to court are just a tiny fraction of the censorship going on.
A lot of censorship is happening under the radar.
But it isn’t just timidity. There is a positive anti-Christian animus behind a lot of this, coming from liberal school administrators.