IN THE SCHOOL
Liberty Institute Assists Student Erin Shead in Standing Up for Her Religious Liberty Rights
SHELBY COUNTY, TN, October 17, 2013—Ten-year-old Erin Shead, a Shelby County School student, was told by her teacher she could not choose God as her idol in a recent writing assignment. However, after Liberty Institute reminded the school district of Erin’s religious liberty, this week Erin was able to turn in her assignment with God as her subject.
Initially, when told of the assignment, Erin asked if she could write about God. Erin’s teacher said no. Undeterred, Erin did two assignments. When she attempted to hand in her assignment about God, the teacher rejected it and told her that Erin had to take her paper about God off of school property because it might violate the First Amendment for it to remain in the classroom! For her second try, Erin chose Michael Jackson, which her teacher said was deemed acceptable. Afterward, students openly mocked Erin’s belief in God, causing her to ask her mother about whether she is allowed to talk about God in school.
That’s when Liberty Institute stepped in.
“Of course students can talk and write about God in school,” said Liberty Attorney Jeremy Dys. “Young teachers, like Erin’s, have been barraged with so much false information for so long that they are afraid that a 10-year-old student’s coloring assignment might violate the First Amendment. That kind of intimidation by the ACLU and Freedom from Religion Foundation is wrong and is precisely what Liberty Institute was founded to combat.”
After discussions with Liberty Institute attorneys, Shelby County Schools reversed the decision of their teacher and allowed Erin to turn in her original assignment about God. And, she earned
Erin’s mother told reporters that she simply “wanted Erin’s right to be able to express herself not to ever be taken away again.”
“I just wanted every Christian to know that we have a right to be able to express ourselves,” she told the news reporter. “We understand that they’ve taken prayer out of schools, but they cannot take God out of our children.”
About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military, and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.