A California legal group hopes that one school district in the
Golden State has learned its lesson not to silence the religious
speech of students.
A kindergartener at Salt Creek Elementary School in Chula Vista,
California, was allowed to sing a Christian song at his school's
talent show last week after the school received a letter from a
legal group. School leaders initially said the student could not
perform the song "Our God Is Mercy" because it is a Christian
But after the Pacific Justice Institute sent a letter to the
school's principal explaining that the school censored the
student's religious speech, school leaders had a change of heart.
Brad Dacus is president of PJI.
"We at the Pacific Justice
Institute are very disappointed to have learned that the Chula
Vista School District decided to engage in such unconstitutional
censorship of this young boy in kindergarten who simply wanted to
play a Christian song on his guitar," the attorney says.
"The Constitution clearly protects students from being silenced
and censored simply because of the religious nature of their speech
- or in this case, the religious nature of their song."
In an earlier press release, Dacus said "misguided" school
officials - in an attempt to avoid criticism from those who are
anti-religion - "end up inadvertently embracing secularism as the
school's official religion."
PJI says the kindergartener was crushed when he learned he could
not be in the show. At that point, his mother contacted PJI senior
counsel Michael Peffer.
A political science professor at Stanford University has
concluded after years of research that teachers unions have had a
devastating effect on education reform efforts.