A first grader who attends West Marion Elementary School in the McDowell County Schools in Marion, NC wrote a poem about both of her grandfather’s military service in the Vietnam War. The poem was selected as part of a Veteran’s Day Ceremony display. One of the lines in her poem read:
“He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength.”
Someone in the community had to be a jerk and complained that they didn’t like the poem because it mentioned God. The school reacted to the jerk’s complaint, and forced the little girl to remove the line from her poem before it was allowed to be used in the Veteran’s Day ceremony.
The school’s response hasn’t set well with the girl’s family or a number of others in the community who fear that the school will use its censorship in other unconstitutional ways. They sought help from Alliance Defending Freedom, who in turn sent a letter to the school on behalf of a number of residents of the county.
Matt Sharp, legal counsel handling the case wrote to the school saying:
“America’s public schools should encourage, not restrict, the constitutionally protected freedom of students to express their faith. Students should not be censored when speaking about their faith or honoring those who valiantly served to protect our freedoms. The poem described the historical actions of her grandfather, and the Constitution protects such student expression at school.”
“School officials may not suppress or exclude the personal speech of students simply because the speech is religious or contains a religious perspective.”
“The censorship of this young student’s poem about her grandfathers is repugnant to the First Amendment rights of all students and sends an impermissible message of hostility towards religion. The First Amendment protects the right of students to discuss their faith–especially when they are discussing a historical event like this student in her poem honoring her grandfathers.”
WND tried to reach school officials to get their side of the story, but none of their requests were answered. They did note that Superintendent Gerri Martin posted the following statement on the school’s website:
“I am looking forward to collaborating with the board, our attorney, and our community to revise policy and create guidelines that will ensure the rights of free speech and freedom of religion consistent not only with the conscience of this community but the requirements the law places on us as a public school system.”
I see two major problems with this entire situation. First, the school listened to ONE person’s complaint that they didn’t like the mention of God in the girl’s poem. So what? I see and read lots of things that I don’t like, but I don’t set out to trample on the author’s constitutional right to say it. If everyone was censored based on just one person’s opinion, we would not have anything in writing, audio or video recording, billboards, magazines, newspapers. Everything would be blank, because there is always at least one person that won’t like it.
When I see something in print or video that really bothers me, I will write and tell the source that they have lost my business or that I will never watch their show, but I won’t try to stop their right to do and say what they believe. Too many Americans have died and been wounded winning and protecting the rights of free speech and religion. To censor those rights would mean that they all died in vain, and I’m not willing to say that.
The second problem is that the school knowingly violated the girl’s constitutional rights. This has been happening in America’s public schools more and more. As liberal progressives become emboldened by our liberal progressive president, they follow his example and attack the constitutional rights of students, parents and teachers. And like the president, they do it with full knowledge of their actions. In fact, in some cases, the schools have purposely trampled on the rights of students and parents in their efforts to usher in the socialist agenda of the NEA.
Parents, if you are unable to educate your children yourself or send them to a good Christian school, then you need to be actively involved with what your child is being taught and how they are being taught. Look closely because a growing number of schools are teaching globalism and one world economy and government. Students are being taught that American pride and patriotism are evil and the root of many of the nation’s problems. They are also taught that mom and dad are evil and part of the problem. Is this what you want them to learn?