How bad are things getting? Had you told me a few years ago that schools would censor 1st graders’ “Valentine’s Day” cards for religious content, I would have laughed at you.
From The Morning Call:
Suit: Censoring history of St. Valentine violated first-grader’s free speech rights
Nazareth elementary school banned cards explaining religious meaning of holiday.
Donald and Ellen Abramo’s children wanted to share the religious meaning of Valentine’s Day with their classmates in the Nazareth Area School District this year.
That gesture landed the Upper Nazareth Township couple in a fight with school officials over a district policy banning religious materials in class, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Allentown.
The Abramos allege staff at Shafer Elementary School in Nazareth violated their son’s First Amendment rights when they removed messages explaining the religious history of Valentine’s Day from cards the first-grader planned to distribute to his friends.
“St. Valentine was imprisoned and martyred for presiding over marriages and for spreading the news of God’s love. In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that God loves YOU!!!” said the notes, which also included a short Bible verse.
The Feb. 14 celebration of Valentine’s Day began as a commemoration of the third-century Roman saint, although the Catholic Church has officially removed the holiday from its calendar.
According to the suit, the Abramos’ three other school-aged children were permitted to hand out the notes with Valentines to their classmates, but only because teachers didn’t notice their religious nature, school officials said.
The suit says Ellen Abramo helped her children create the notes to fill an empty slot in their store-bought cards — left when they removed a piece of candy to comply with a separate policy banning sweets.