Chula Vista is Spanish for ‘beautiful view’ and the name reflects the scenery of the San Diego suburb of 250,000 people. The city lies along the southern part of San Diego Bay with the coastal foothills and mountains in the background. I did my graduate schooling in the San Diego area and remembering driving through parts of Chula Vista along the bay and thinking how beautiful the area was.
Salt Creek Elementary School is located in Chula Vista. The school had planned a talent show for May 23rd as part of the end of year activities. A kindergartner named Austin auditioned for the talent show. He wanted to play his guitar and sing Our God is Mercy, one of his favorite songs. School officials asked to see a copy of the words and when they did, they informed Austin that he would not be allowed to participate in the talent show because of the religious nature of his song.
Austin was devastated. His parents say that he loves singing and sings all the time around the house. When they heard the news of him not being allowed in the talent show, they felt the school was making a mistake.
Not knowing who else to turn to, Austin’s mom contacted Pacific Justice Institute for advice on what a student can and can’t do in public school. Michael Peffer, Senior Counsel for JPI listened to the distraught parents and realized that the school was in fact violating Austin’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion. Peffer wrote a letter to the principal of Salt Creek Elementary School explaining exactly what the law allows. Part of that letter read:
“Because such censorship on the basis of a student’s religious beliefs is a violation of his constitutional rights, we write to request that you immediately allow [the student] to perform his song at the upcoming talent show.”
President of JPI, Brad Dacus commented on the case, saying:
“This issue exemplifies the ongoing fear from school administrators to allow anything even remotely connected to Christianity in the school. In their attempt to avoid the wrath of anti-religionists, misguided school officials end up inadvertently embracing secularism as the school’s official religion.”
Just days before the talent show, Austin and his parents were notified by the school that he would be allowed to sing his song in the school’s talent show after all. Austin was excited and his parents were extremely thankful to the staff at Pacific Justice Institute for stepping in and helping to resolve the situation so quickly.
What happened to Austin is happening to thousands of kids in America’s public schools. Some schools are so afraid of lawsuits from atheist that they readily trample on the constitutional rights of students. More and more schools are run by leftist liberals who will do everything in their power to trample on the rights of students in order to brainwash them into accepting the school’s progressive agenda.
In so many of these cases, parents don’t know what to do or who to turn to for help, so they just give in to the strong-arm tactics of the school administrators. Parents need to know that there a number of legal organizations like Pacific Justice Institute that they can contact. If you find yourself in a similar situation where public school officials are violating the rights of your kids, please get online and find someone that can help. Schools need to be stopped and your kid’s rights need to be protected.