MEMPHIS Tenn., - Erin Shead, a 10-year-old student was asked by her teacher to write about an idol she looked up to as part of a class assignment. Shead decided that her idol was God. After handing in her assignment with a diagram explaining why God is her idol, she was informed by her teacher that her work was inappropriate and that she was not allowed to choose God.
Shead had put some thought into her assignment and her diagram clearly explained why this 10-year-old girl had decided that God was her idol. Those reason, as seen in her diagram included;
"He is the reason I am on this earth."
"I love [God] and Jesus, and Jesus is His earthly son. I also love Jesus,"
"God is my idol, I will never hate him. He will always be the number one person I look up to,"
“I look up to God”
“I look up to him because he put me on this earth. He is the reason I am on this earth.”
“God will always make me do the right thing. He will make me be the best that I can be. I will never ever not believe in him.”
The 10-year-old was told to back and start her assignment all over again, to choose a different idol, and then she was informed that she needed to take her ‘unacceptable’ work home because it wasn’t even allowed to be on the school’s property.
After some consideration, the young girl picked the late Michael Jackson as her new idol for her assignment which was, of course, found to be acceptable by her teacher.
That afternoon when 10-year-old Erin Shead arrived home after school and gave her mother, Erica Shead her rejected assignment, her mother was infuriated. In an interview with WREG-TV
Shead said that it was not really clear to her daughter why God couldn’t be her idol, “But my teacher said I couldn’t write about God. She said it has something to do with God and God can’t be my idol.”
“It was so cute and innocent. She talked about how God created the earth and how she’s doing the best she can,” Shead told WREG-TV Channel 3.“How can you tell this baby, that’s a Christian, what she can say and what she can’t say?”
Erica Shead did go to her daughter’s school and asked the principal to see the policy that her daughter’s teacher was following when she rejected her daughter’s assignment,“Can you show me this in a policy where this child cannot talk about God on paper,” asked Shead.
Shelby County School District Spokesman, Christian Ross did tell Channel 3 News (WREG) that, while teacher can’t promote religion in their classrooms, there’s not a policy in place that prevents any student from writing assignments about any God or religion.
Shead told WREG that she is still waiting for a response from the principal and she wants to know what is going to be done to correct the situation since it’s apparent that the school is acknowledging that the teach was in the wrong.
School officials wouldn’t say what would be done to correct the situation, since it appears the teacher was in the wrong.
Ross, said that the school wouldn’t comment out of respect for the student’s privacy.
Katherine Weber, (the Christian Post) reported;
“Alliance Defending Freedom has previously defended a number of cases relating to religious liberty, including defending a second grade student in New Jersey who was told she couldn't sing ‘Awesome God’ in an after-school talent show, and a Christian student in Missouri, who was threatened with having her degree withheld because she refused to support same-sex adoption in a letter to her state legislature.
"As a parent, you may believe that in public education the 'separation of church and state' prohibits your child from freely living out the Christian values you've worked so hard to instill. But students have more freedom to express their faith on campus than you, or they, realize," Alliance Defending Freedom states on its website.” - Katherine Weber/ Christian Post
Updated post from Shelby County School District 9/12-
“Shelby County Schools respects the moral and religious beliefs of all students and families. While teachers and staff are not permitted to promote religion in the classroom, no laws or district policies allow teachers to limit students’ expression of religious beliefs in their personal classwork. This was a regrettable misunderstanding, and we as educators must learn from it.
The principal and teacher have had a positive and productive conversation with the family, and we are pleased this matter is being addressed at the school level. The district will not be discussing this matter further in the media.”
How do you feel Shelby School District should handle this issue?
Have you ever experienced anything like this?
Do you think Erica Shead handled this situation the right way? What would you do?
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