Teacher trashes 1st graders Christmas gifts: “Jesus is not allowed in school”

More liberal tolerance.

From The Blaze:


A first-grade teacher in California told a student that “Jesus is not allowed in school” before removing a religious story the child affixed to candy canes in celebration of Christmas last month, a non-profit legal firm claims.

The incident reportedly unfolded on Dec. 13, when 6-year-old Isaiah Martinez brought gifts for his peers to Merced Elementary School in West Covina, Calif.

According to a press release distributed by Advocates for Faith & Freedom, the firm handling the case, “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.”

According to the legal group, when Martinez presented the gifts, he was met with major resistance from his teacher, who reportedly took the candy canes and removed the Christian story affixed to them.

“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,” the press release continued. “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.”


Read the rest there.

Thanks heaven little Isaiah didn’t post happy, innocent season’s greetings in the Fishwrap‘s combox!  Can you imagine what they would have done to him over there?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Lisa Graas says:

    If my kids were in public school, I would not allow them to proselytize this way. Share the Faith, yes, but only if asked. Kids aren’t really prepared for the backlash that inevitably comes from these things. Having said that, current law protects what this child did, and I support the law allowing children to proselytize in public schools.

  2. disco says:

    First off, I had no idea that candy canes had anything to do with our Lord, so that’s fantastic to learn.

    Secondly, can we get this teacher fired please?

  3. Well Lisa, I am kind of mixed at your approach, and am maybe somewhat thankful in a spiritual way for what this child has done.

    On the one hand, I agree that we can shove faith in people’s faces and that yes, some stuff can really screw up a child’s mind when they are young if they are not handled in an appropriate, Catholic Way (unless of course they are intentionally damaging. Not going to name anything in this comment but you understand what I mean, I hope.)

    On the other had, I am glad that this child did this because (1) traditional Catholic criticism of the modern Church and its people is that we are a weak bunch of Catholic who don’t promote our faith, even when asked. So thank goodness this child was doing it, and (2) Now this kid will realize the TRUTH of our faith, that being Catholic IS going to put you against your family, friends, society, etc. and you will be hated by it by the world, flesh, and the devil, and all (including hypocrite “c”atholics) who subscribe to it.

    Now this child will be better prepared to understand what being a Catholic means, that is if the parents explain it that way. If not though, then with nothing said, this kid might be traumatized and refuse to do kind things or be happy to be Catholic/Christian, which would be a millstone around his neck.

  4. mamajen says:

    Just to be safe, they’d better ban Isaiah, too–his name might remind people of the bible. Sigh.

    We are very fortunate in our district. My son’s kindergarten class did two different Christmas crafts involving angels (including a beautiful necklace for me). They also each made a singing choir boy as part of a big display surrounding the words “Joy to the World” right by the main entrance. I was pleasantly surprised. And, come to think of it, that was the only holiday artwork hung on display–the santa stuff came right home.

  5. Sorry I meant “Can’t” shove faith in people’s faces. Even Christ told us in portions of the Gospel not to be boastful about it like the Pharisees. hmmm, does the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector come to mind?

  6. mamajen says:

    I kind of agree with you, Lisa. My son is in public school, and I would not use him as an opportunity to proselytize. If he wants to share HIS genuine feelings, that’s different. He has a tendency to want to say grace before meals wherever he is, for example, and I don’t stop that sort of thing (and would go “mama bear” if someone told him it was wrong). I would be annoyed if a non-Catholic tried to engage my kid with their beliefs. That said, I think the school’s reaction was over the top. And, I’m not so sure I’d call this proselytization really–it’s historical fact. Surely a parent who doesn’t believe could still explain the history aspect to their kid without being offended. That’s how I would handle it.

    Slight tangent, but this reminds me…one day my son brought up the fact that he doesn’t learn about religion in school. We talked about it a bit, and I explained that some people don’t know about Jesus yet, and others don’t care about Jesus. He asked if that makes God sad and I told him yes, but he always hopes they will change, and we can pray for them. Then, I kid you not, he said “If we don’t pray to God, we pray to the devil!” I nearly choked.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    First of all, all Christian children should be trained and formed now for this type of persecution and more. otherwise we are not doing them any favors. It will get worse.

    Second, I am glad this hit the media.

    Third, we are told to evangelize in any way, including, as Blessed John Paul II stated through writing. If a child is willing to take the flak, good. If not, do not let the child be in that position.

  8. Sonshine135 says:

    If Jesus were allowed in a public school, maybe lunatics who are armed to the teeth would be barred from them by His angels. Just a thought.

  9. rtjl says:

    Well, maybe schools (i.e. teachers and staff) aren’t allowed to promote Jesus (or any other religion) in school – but surely private citizens can share anything they want concerning religion among themselves regardless of where they are or how old they are. It’s one thing to say the state can’t promote or restrict religion but it’s another thing entirely to say individuals can’t. And in this case the state is clearly restricting religion – which, to my mind, is not allowed.

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Jesus is not allowed in school”

    Yeah, that’s the reason for Columbine, Sandy Hook and ALL the others. Keep Him out and then have the audacity to ask Him where He was when trouble hits.

  11. The Cobbler says:

    So does anybody actually know if the card was preaching Chrstianity (e.g said that Christ is the Son of God), or simply explaining the purported origins of the candycane as a Christian symbol? ‘Cause I can tell you where Hannukah and the menorah come from, and if that makes me Jewish I’ll have to keep silent on it to avoid upsetting Archbishop Williamson’s followers, right?

  12. Nicholas Shaler says:

    My dad and I have a protestant friend who has a prayer and/or bible study group at her public school, and where I went to public elementary school there was as protestant church on Sundays, so I see no necessary reason to be so hostile to a kid who shared historical information.

  13. Unwilling says:

    I mentioned Domitian the other day. Now this reminds me of the novel , “Fabiola”. Chapter 2 describes the predicament of a Christian boy in a Roman school when (fictional time period) the Teacher also is a Christian but guard the secret even from each other. The political correctness and bullying of the boy are too close for comfort. I wonder whether Cardinal Wiseman in 1854 could imagine how similar our situation would be to “The Church of the Catacombs”.
    BTW, Wikipedia on the Christian Persecutions is largely and exercise in denial of that “holocaust”.

  14. Clinton says:

    I have a hard time believing that this teacher would react the same way with, say,
    young Muslim or Hindu children passing out treats associated with one of their
    religious holidays. Poor Isaiah isn’t ‘diverse’ enough.

  15. Jason Keener says:

    How unfortunate. It’s too bad the United States is so awash in religious pluralism, religious error, and lukewarm Catholicism and not more like the country of Malta that was in a position to give actual constitutional favor and protection to the Catholic Religion and continues to do so. Catholics in the United States must work to have their basic right to religious freedom protected, but they must also work to peacefully promote the ultimate goal—extending Christ’s reign over both private and public life. Christ, after all, is the Creator and Savior of all things Who established Holy Mother Church to teach in His name until the end of time. With the civil legality of abortion and gay marriage in the United States and now the banning of Christian religious expression in public places, we can see how a civil government that has recognized no religion will end up sliding further and further into atheism, eventually resulting in the state’s destruction. In reality, with no mention of Christ and the moral authority of His Church, the American Experiment was constituted on very wobbly foundations. It is not surprising we are ready to fall off a cliff—morally, politically, and financially. The true expositors of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are Christ and the Catholic Church. Civil governments, and agents of the civil government like the over-zealous teacher in Father Z’s post, must be made to recognize this by the loving, yet bold, example of Catholics willing to share and live their Faith. In the end, societies will get the civil governments they deserve.

  16. jameeka says:

    Your son sounds amazing!

  17. vetusta ecclesia says:

    I am pretty sure that in the UK the teacher’s action would breach the law of property.

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I’m pretty sure that, in the US, the teacher’s action would breach the law of property.

    But traditionally, teachers in the US have had the power to confiscate and trash things which are regarded as harmful or forbidden (like rubber bands if a kid is snapping them at classmates), and to confiscate and hold other forbidden things (like electronic devices, toys, etc.) even to the end of the school year. This is an “in loco parente” thing, because parents can do the same thing.

    The problem is that some teachers take this traditional leeway and turn it into insanity, until the local school board or principal gets tired of complaints and tells all teachers not to confiscate anything — and then you get all this crazy stuff with crazy teachers calling the police for minor classroom infractions, or things that aren’t even a problem.

  19. katieg says:

    There are two issues at play here. One, is simply a lack of judgement and compassion on the part of the teacher. The issue should have been directly handled by the office between the parents and principal to minimize hurt feelings on the part of the child. A teacher may be bound by school district policy, but that policy does not include being vindictive about its implementation. Secondly, our amendment rights include the protection of personal expression of faith. The government in order to make every religion “the same” simply erases religion all together. The protection of our personal expression of faith was meant to protect the woman wearing a burka, or a man wearing yamaka, or a woman wearing a miraculous medal. Schools should encourage children to be expressive in their faith. I would love to receive a gift for Hanukah, or candy for Chinese New Year or food for the Hindi Festival of Lights from any child. This is true multiculturalism. Moreover, if the next President is Jewish…I’ll be there to help him light the menorah of the White House lawn–as his personal expression of faith– because this is what our founding fathers intended.

  20. The Masked Chicken says:

    “‘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.'”

    Basically, this teacher should be sent back for remedial reading. The message was not an act of proselytization, but of simply stating historical facts. Yes, it involves Jesus, but really, what is that to the teacher? Is she a Jesus-denier? Does she doubt that celebrating the life of Jesus (not to mention bishops, since the cane is the same as a bishop’s crosier) is the reason for candy canes? Are her students not allowed to know this? What principal would give her permission to react so violently? It seems that either the teacher is projecting some of her own beliefs onto the situation or received very poor sensitivity training or has been cowed into suppressing anything that smacks of religion, where it does or not.

    The Chicken

  21. mamajen says:

    Thank you, Jameeka!

    I’m biased, of course, but I do think he’s an amazing kid. I’m very blessed to be his mom.

  22. mamajen says:

    A couple more thoughts in response to comments here…

    1. No human beings with their stupid laws are going to keep God out of school. The devil exists, and evil exists. People can do evil things. They can do evil things at public schools, Catholic schools, churches, anywhere. I pray to my son’s guardian angel to protect him when he’s at school. No, I do not think that incidents like Sandy Hook are retribution from God. I don’t think angels “stood down” because people deserved it. Bad things happen sometimes for reasons we often don’t know.

    2. After watching the video, the messages attached to the candy canes said “CHRISTmas”, among other things. That ventures beyond mere history. The parents were trying to make an impression, and they did. It didn’t get as far as they thought it might. In my opinion their method was not the best way to go about it under the circumstances. I would not be pleased if our school allowed something like that to be passed out and then, in fairness, allowed a Jew or Muslim to do the same sort of thing. I don’t like non-Catholics proselytizing via my innocent kid.

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