Posted in: Education

School Forces Child To Remove ‘God’ From Veteran’s Day Poem, Citing ‘Separation Of Church And State’

The school cited the separation of church and state as the reason for the change.

Marion, NC — An elementary school in North Carolina is the center of controversy after educators told a 6-year-old girl that she had to remove the word “God” from a poem she had written. The student was scheduled to deliver her the poem at a Veteran’s Day event.

The first grader had intended to use the opportunity to honor her two grandfathers, who fought during the Vietnam War.

The Blaze reports that one line in the poem read, “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength.” The line, clearly a “reference to her relatives’ personal, wartime invocations,” apparently, a parent at the school was offended by the line, and made a complaint to the school. The 6-year-old was ordered to remove the line from the poem.

“The discussion [about the poem] occurred between myself, the principal and the assistant principal at West Marion,” said Superintendent Gerri Martin. “We wanted to make sure we were upholding the school district’s responsibility of separation of church and state from the Establishment Clause.”

After discussing the law, the school decided that allowing the line would constitute an endorsement of “one single religion over another.” Some in the Marion community, however, are concerned that the youngster’s First Amendment rights were violated in the incident.

Chris Greene, a district employee, spoke against the school’s decision at a Board of Education meeting this week, stating that school was guilty of “hushing the voice of a six-year-old girl.” He contended that she was not “trying to pray or coerce others to engage in a conversation with God, but that the first grader was simply explaining what her grandfathers had done in their time of need.”

Ken Paulson, president and chief executive of the First Amendment Center in Washington, D.C., said that the school was within its rights in their actions.

“Courts have consistently held up the rights for students to express themselves unless their speech is disruptive to the school,” Paulson maintains. “The First Amendment protects all Americans. She had every right to mention God, [but] that dynamic changed when they asked her to read it at an assembly.”

Do you think the little girl should have been able to read her poem for the assembly, even though it mentioned God’s name?

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13 Responses to “School Forces Child To Remove ‘God’ From Veteran’s Day Poem, Citing ‘Separation Of Church And State’”

  1. Wendy Doiron

    they should allow GOD in school again. if they are in study hall, what's it hurting? nothing, that's what! I know some friends that studied GOD in their study halls, what's wrong with that? nothing at all! GOD is very important to have in peoples lives and it wont hurt to go to sunday schools and church either!
    i feel EVERYONE should have GOD and JESUS in everyones soul and body! lessons too!

  2. JuLeah Willson

    How stupid! So the poem will read… he prayed for peace… and that is more inclusive then he prayed to God?

    Stupid. So, no God of any religion is to be mentioned? They don't exist?

    Stupid. Wouldn't have mattered if she had said, He prayed to Jesus, or he prayed to Allah, or he prayed to Zeus.

    He prayed. No one asking you to pray or believe or think or do… she is reporting on what her grandfather did.

    Stupid

  3. Patricia Kiefer

    For heaven's (heh, heh) there is a church or other form of religion on almost every corner in this country. There are many religious radio and TV shows. There is a family to discuss religion. No need to teach religion in the classroom or school.

  4. Phyllis Lawson Beatty

    This is suppose to be a free country and yes, a child should be allowed to express his or her religious thoughts in school or any place else. It is sinful that it has been removed in the first place. I respect all religions and all should be allowed to openly worship or pray in their own way, including a lovely poem that contains the word God. I praise the little girls's parents for teaching her about God and to her Grandfather for praying. We need more people like this. The little girl was expressing her own thoughts and not pushing religion on anyone else.

  5. Renee' Smith

    I'm sorry, but I do not agree with these actions! 'Nuff said.

  6. Sharon Jolly Rogers

    FREEDOM! Say what ever she wants in a poem! It is creative! It is her freedom! She has as much right to share her thoughts as a person who doesnt believe-thats a freedom. Lets all stop being so judgemental of each other. I love what poor but dear Rodney King said "Cant we all get along"!

  7. Penny Wells

    This little girl was telling a story. Even if you don't believe in God, this is not hurting anyone. She was telling what happened to members of her family… Having said that I do not believe in teaching religion in school. That is the responsibility of parents. If you want your child to pray, pray with them..if you want your child to learn the Bible and the word of God, do like I did. Take your children to church. There are so many different religions in this country, all of them given religious freedom in the Constitution, it is impossible for schools to even start to go there. Most people don't realize that "under God" was not in the Pledge of Allegiance when it was written for a town 4th of July celebration. It was never meant to be adopted by schools. Congress decided that for us…they also added under God. I don't know about you but it kinda seems a little forced to me, so I don't get all the hoopla…Congress has no place in religion, or in forcing schools to push it. Not all religions believe in Christianity, and they have that right….

  8. David Chrenko

    What people like you never seem to get through your head is – a child does not forfeit her RIGHT to Religious Freedom when she enters the schoolhouse doors. Atheists conveniently ignore ",,,"nor PROHIBIT the free exercise (of religion) thereof" in the Constitution. Faith is not something one puts away after Sunday is over – it defines who you are as a human being.

  9. David Chrenko

    A child does not forfeit her RIGHT to Religious Freedom when she enters the schoolhouse doors. Atheists conveniently ignore "…"nor PROHIBIT the free exercise (of religion) thereof" in the Constitution. Faith is not something one puts away after Sunday is over – it defines who you are as a human being.