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(Memphis) A teacher and the principal at Lucy Elementary School have apologized to a student after the teacher told 10-year-old Erin Snead she couldn’t write a school assignment about God.

The assignment was to draw a picture about someone you idolize or look up to.

When the girl drew a picture about God she was told to take it home and pick a new subject.

As a second choice, she chose Michael Jackson, which was accepted.

According to Erin’s mother, Erica, the teacher said she didn’t mean to hurt the girl’s feelings or offend her, “The children started talking and some didn’t believe in God and some did and they were talking about it. She did admit that she didn’t know how to handle that situation.”

Erica told us the teacher was very sorry and said she was a Christian, “I believe that the teacher was remorseful about maybe the action. She was trying to protect herself and the children in the classroom.”

Erin Snead said she didn’t get much of an explanation from her teacher about why she couldn’t write about God, “It made me feel sad.”

Shelby County Schools issued this statement:

“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.”