School Says No To God For Project; Mother Furious
(Memphis) Memphis mother Erica Shead said she was angry after her 10-year-old daughter Erin, told her Wednesday, she wasn’t allowed to write about God for a school assignment.
“It was so cute and innocent. She talked about how God created the earth and how she’s doing the best she can,” said Shead.
Erin is a student at Lucy Elementary.
Shead said Erin was told she can’t use God as an idol for the assignment.
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.
“How can you tell this baby, that’s a Christian, what she can say and what she can’t say?”
Shead took her concerns to the school principal at Lucy Elementary Wednesday morning.
“Can you show me this in a policy where this child cannot talk about God on paper,” asked Shead.
We reached out to Shelby County Schools Wednesday.
Spokesman Christian Ross said teachers can’t promote religion, but there is not a policy preventing students from writing assignments about any God or religion.
School officials wouldn’t say what would be done to correct the situation, since it appears the teacher was in the wrong.
Ross said they wouldn’t comment out of respect for the student’s privacy.
Shead said she is waiting to hear from the principal, “I told the principal this morning, would it be better if she wrote about Ellen Degeneres? Of course there was no comment.”
UPDATED RESPONSE FROM SHELBY COUNTY SCHOOLS ON 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.”
- Shelby County Schools