Thursday, April 10, 2014

First-grade Christian Censored, Penn. School Sued

After a teacher showed Principal William Mudlock at Shafer Elementary School in the Nazareth (Pennsylvania) Area School District one of the Valentine's Day cards that J.A. Abramo was about to hand out to friends, all of the Christian messages were confiscated and the devastated boy was told that Bible verses are forbidden in school.
"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!!! '. . . God so lived the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not parish but might have eternal life.' John 3:16"
-- Abramo's forbidden message
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

California Teacher Trashes 6-year-old's Christmas Cards

California Teacher Says Jesus Not Allowed in Christmas

Christian Girl Muzzled, Sues Kansas City School

Jesus Ad Censored by Texas School, Says Lawsuit

Florida Kindergartner Forbidden to Bow Head Over Lunch

God is NOT Your Idol, Says Tennessee Teacher; Michael Jackson Is

Connecticut School Censors 'Controversial' Pro-life Kids

Georgia Christian Teachers Muzzled, Citizens Rebel

In addition, read, the long list of states enacting laws to ensure First Amendment rights in public schools.

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-- From "Lawsuit: Censoring history of St. Valentine violated first-grader's free speech rights" by Peter Hall, The Morning Call (Allentown, PA) 4/7/14

According to the suit, [Donald and Ellen Abramo's] 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.

The lawsuit, which identifies the Abramos' first-grade boy only as J.A., notes that other students at Shafer Elementary were permitted to hand out cards with human skulls, guns and other weapons, and with rub-on tattoos.

But elementary school Principal William Mudlock told Ellen Abramo that because J.A.'s cards were religious and might be offensive to someone, the school would not allow them to be distributed, the lawsuit says.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Nazareth Area School District sued over religious notes removed from Valentine's Day cards" by Rudy Miller, The Express-Times (Easton, PA) 4/9/14

The Abramos' cause has been taken up by an organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom [ADF], which wrote to Nazareth Area superintendent Dennis Riker in December 2013 urging him to change the policy banning the distribution of religious materials, the suit says. When the family reached out to him to intervene on Feb. 19, Riker allegedly told them he forwarded the matter to the district attorney to handle, the suit says.

School district solicitor Gary Brienza followed up with an email to the Abramos saying he was looking into the matter and said it is "being taken seriously."

According to the suit, J.A. cried when he wasn't allowed to distribute the notes. The teacher tried to explain the rules and console him, but their conversation left the boy "extremely upset and humiliated," the suit says. According to the suit, the boy no longer prays over his meals at school because he is "afraid of getting in trouble."

A meeting with Brienza and principal William Mudlock on Feb. 28 failed to satisfy the Abramos.

The lawsuit was filed by attorney L. Theodore Hopp Jr., of Media, PA.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Nazareth Area School District policy on Valentine's Day cards needs to be revoked, attorney says" by Pamela Sroka-Holzmann, The Express-Times (Easton, PA) 4/9/14

Matt Sharp, an attorney with the Georgia-based nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, said Donald and Ellen Abramo have been personally impacted by the district's policy.

The couple moved to Upper Nazareth Township a year ago and this is their first-grade son's first year in the district. They also have a third-grader at Shafer in Nazareth.

The suit challenges the school district to revoke its policy on religious material. Sharp claims similar cases have been successful in Pennsylvania and he is hoping the same for the Abramos.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Nazareth rejects Jesus, gets sued" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 4/8/14

“A Bible verse and a reference to God does not make such a card unconstitutional,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Religious expression is just as protected by the First Amendment as other messages that students communicate.”

ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said that to “single out a faith-based message for censorship is exactly the type of hostility to religion that the First Amendment forbids.”

[School] Officials cited their Policy 220, “which states that the school officials can prohibit student expression that seeks ‘to establish the supremacy of a particular religious denomination, sect or point of view.’”

But the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, noted that the same federal court struck down an identically worded policy in 2008, because it restricted “what effectively amounts to all religious speech, which is clearly not permissible under the First Amendment.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.