A seven year old boy who attends Desert Rose Elementary School has been reprimanded by a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff in Palmdale for distributing Bible verses to other students, who said that the action could be viewed as “offensive” to a classmate.
Christina Zavala, the mother of the child, had always inserted an encouraging Bible verse in the lunch bag for her child, who has been identified only as “C,” every day. Her daily note reminders for her son has attracted other children, who were inspired by it, and begged C for duplicates of the note. Soon, the Bible verses expanded into additions of Bible stories.
A little girl who was so rejuvenated by it, exclaimed happily to the teacher, “This is the most beautiful story I’ve ever seen.”
In response, the teacher stated that there should be a “separation of church and state,” and that the notes were prohibited during lunchtime. The teacher then proceeded to rebuke the boy in front of the entire classroom twice, and called his parents.
Regardless, the boy continued to evangelize outside the school gate. The school’s principal then took action and told him and his parents that such activities were not allowed.
A nonprofit action organization, the Liberty Counsel, which specializes in protecting religious rights, has sent a letter on behalf of C to the Palmdale School District to reiterate the correct clarification of the clause of separation of church and state, disputing that students have the legal right to exercise freedom of speech through printed material.
The letter declared, “It was improper to ban student religious discussion during lunchtime. The district cannot suppress and censor this discussion, or the one-page notes consisting of Bible stories and verses placed by C’s mother in C’s lunch for his own personal enjoyment and edification; which he voluntarily chose to share with his little friends during non-instructional time; which interested classmates were free to accept or refuse, at their own discretion.”
Horatio “Harry” Mihet, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel of Liberty Counsel stated, “This is a clear, gross violation of the rights of a child.
In addition, Mihet said, “Students are permitted to pass out Valentine or birthday cards at school, or to talk about Superman and Captain America at lunch, they cannot be prohibited from sharing Bible verses and securing their faith during their free, non-instructional time.”