Video: Student told not to write about God as her idol

Lord forgive them, for the leadership at Memphis’ Lucy Elementary clearly knows not what it does. A 10-year-old girl wrote what her mother describes as a “cute” presentation for a class assignment to discuss who she sees as her idol. When she chose the Lord Almighty, her teacher demanded a more appropriate idol, like, er … Michael Jackson?

She said her daughter was told to start over and pick another 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,” said Shead about what her daughter told her.

Erin told her mother she was also not allowed to leave the assignment about God at school, that it must go home.

On the second try, Erin chose Michael Jackson, which was acceptable.

While this isn’t explicitly a zero-tolerance case, it amply demonstrates the ludicrous thinking behind it.  Public schools are not allowed to promote religion, or teach it except in a comparitive/academic sense, which is a restriction on teachers and administrators, not students. Students have their First Amendment rights to pray, discuss, and occasionally write about their religious beliefs, especially in a class assignment that uses religious terminology and practically begs for a faith-based response.  Or did the teacher not know the definition of “idol” before giving the assignment to the class?

And then when Erin chose God, the teacher could have just shrugged it off as a cute choice, even if it made her uncomfortable.  Instead, she turned it into an issue — and then signed off on a choice of an entertainer whose relationship with young children was suspicious enough to provoke prosecution, albeit that which ended in acquittals.

It’s hysterics like these that make ever-stronger cases for school choice or homeschooling.  The mother sounds well-equipped to handle the latter, too, as she demonstrates in the interview.

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