So, it’s official. We live in an era where public school students may define their own gender and use the bathroom that matches that identity, but they can’t read Bible verses to their classmates upon request.
That’s what Christina Zavala of California discovered. Zavala’s son – a 7-year-old boy who has only been identified publicly as “C” – found himself at the center of a firestorm this year as a result of the Bible verses his mom packed with his lunch. “C” began reading the verses aloud to his friends at the lunchtable, and the readings became so popular that other students asked for verses of their own. Zavala happily complied, sending along additional verses and short stories that explained their relevance.
Then the trouble began.
After a first grade teacher noticed the trend, she told the Desert Rose Elementary School administration that the child was violating the separation of church and state. School officials agreed, and told the boy that he could only distribute the verses after school, down by the front gate. But when he began doing that, school officials went a step further, insisting that he step off school property. Again, he complied with their request.
But even that wasn’t good enough. According to the Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit legal organization representing Zavala, the school contacted the police. A sheriff’s deputy showed up at the boy’s home and warned the parents that because “someone might be offended,” their child was to keep his Bible verses to himself.
“I would expect something like this to happen in Communist Romania, where I went to elementary school, but cops don’t bully 7-year-olds who want to talk about Jesus in the Land of the Free,” said Horatio Mihet, a Liberty Counsel lawyer.
The law firm sent a letter to the Palmdale School District informing them of their constitutional violations.
“The district cannot suppress and censor this discussion, or the one-page notes consisting of Bible stories and verses placed by C’s mother in C ‘s lunch for his own personal enjoyment and edification; which he voluntarily chose to share with his little friends during non-instructional time; which interested classmates were free to accept or refuse, at their own discretion,” the letter warned.
So far, the school district has not made any public comment on the matter. The Liberty Counsel has threatened legal action in the absence of a satisfying remedy.
Once again, for the record, this is happening in Los Angeles. In California. In the United States of America.
As hard as it might be to believe.