According to her family’s attorneys, on December 18 a first-grader in Temecula, California, was prevented from finishing her speech that was part of a class presentation about Christmas because she openly talked about Jesus Christ as the Savior.
Brynn Williams was obeying the instructions to the class from her teacher at Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School to bring something from home that was part of her family’s Christmas tradition.
The attorneys stated that Brynn shared her family’s “Star of Bethlehem” ornament from their Christmas tree with the class “to represent her family’s tradition of remembering why Christmas is celebrated,” then started to give a one-minute speech. She began, “Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree. The star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The 3 kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world. John…”
At that point, according to Brynn’s attorneys, her teacher said, “Stop right there! Go take your seat!” That was the end of her presentation which was to continue with the verse from the Gospel of John, 3:16. The attorneys asserted that Brynn was the only student who did not complete her presentation. Once Brynn was seated, the teacher allegedly told her that she was forbidden from discussing the Bible or its verses.
School principal Ami Paradise told Brynn’s mother, Gina Williams, that the reason Brynn’s presentation was terminated was because “we don’t want to offend other students.”
Attorney Robert Tyler sent a letter to the Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) demanding that the district change its policy to bar school officials from manifesting signs of disapproval or hostility toward religion or religious viewpoints from students. Tyler wrote, “The disapproval and hostility that Christian students have come to experience in our nation’s public schools has become epidemic. I hope that TVUSD will take the lead role in adopting a model policy to prohibit this abuse that has become all too common place for religious-minded students.”
TVUSD had no immediate response.