In a January 6 press release, Advocates of Faith and Freedom describe the bullying of a first grade student by his teacher for daring to mention Jesus in school.
According to the press release, “On December 13, 2013, first grader Isaiah Martinez took Christmas gifts intended for his teacher and classmates at Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District. Each gift consisted of a traditional candy cane with a message attached that recited the legend of the candy cane. The legend references a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah’s older sister told him about the legend of the candy cane and Isaiah asked if he could share it with his teacher and his classmates. Isaiah and his sister then purchased candy canes, printed the candy cane message and tied a copy to each candy cane.
When Isaiah brought his Christmas gift to school, his teacher took possession of the candy canes. After conferring with the school principal, the teacher told Isaiah that “Jesus is not allowed in school” and, at the apparent direction of her principal, ripped the candy cane message from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates. Isaiah then nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and “good tidings” to class.”
The story of the candy cane is as follows (may not reflect the actual wording of the tags).
The story tells of a Candy maker in Indiana who wanted to make a candy that would help us remember who Christmas is really about. So he made a Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.
He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus. Hard candy to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.
The candy maker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the name of Jesus. It also represented the staff of the “Good Shepherd”.
The candy maker then included red stripes. He used three small stripes and a large red stripe to represent the suffering Christ endured at the end of his life.
This is as much a history lesson as it is a religious tale.
The outrageous actions of the teacher and principal in scaring this little boy and destroying his property is unacceptable.
Robert Tyler, lawyer and General Counsel, said, “Advocates for Faith & Freedom has experienced a surge in phone calls from students and their parents across the country who are victims of religiously motivated bullying; not bullying by other students, but bullying by teachers and school officials.”
He continued, “The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that public schools are becoming a place of hostility toward Christian and other religiously-based worldviews. It’s time to push the pendulum back in the right direction where kids can experience true tolerance without religiously motivated hostility from their teachers and school officials.”
Jesus told of this in John 15:18-21
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.
Advocates for Faith & Freedom sent a demand letter to the West Covina Unified School District demanding a written apology and has demanded that a new policy be adopted to prohibit school officials from bullying and intimidating Christian students and religiously affiliated students.
Advocates for Faith and Freedom can be contacted at (888) 588-6888.