A California teacher is accused of telling first grader Brynn Williams that she cannot talk about the Bible in the classroom. The law firm representing the Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School student says the teacher showed “undue hostility” towards the little girl during a school presentation about holiday traditions. Both the school principal and teacher Tammy Williams have now spoken out against the anti-Bible claims.
A release about the teacher allegedly telling the student she could not talk about the Bible in class issued by the Advocates for Faith & Freedom group states that Brynn was telling her friends about the faith-based Christmas traditions in her home when the educator abruptly silenced her and said talking about the Bible in school is not allowed.
During a recent meeting of the Temecula Valley Unified School Board Tammy Williams had this to say about her conversation with the first grader:
“I had a very limited amount of time and needed to make sure all students had time to share. Now remember, this is sharing. They were not oral reports. Students were asked to share a family tradition. It could be anything, not just a Christmas tradition. During sharing, I work with students on looking at the audience and using clear voices. We also work on listening skills and asking questions.”
The Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School also called her student’s version of the encounter “untrue accusations.” The teacher steadfastly maintains that the child was asked to stop speaking not because she was talking about the Bible in school but due to time constraints. Tammy also claims that Brynn brought with her a shared statement about Christmas traditions which was allegedly written by one of parents. The teacher also stated that her students “rarely” use written text during sharing time.
The transcript from the Temecula Valley Unified School also shared these details about how the teacher said the scenario unfolded:
“As I held the star[to remember Jesus], the student began to read her statement. I helped her with a few words that she was having trouble with. I decided that I would have the student stop after sharing about Mary and Joseph. I felt that it would take too long and I still needed her to take her question and I had a few clarifying questions for her as well. At no time did I ever tell the student that she could not read the bottom section because it was a Bible verse nor did she ask if she could finish.”
Brynn Williams’ version of what happened inside the classroom is quite different. The child said that the class was instructed to bring something from home which represents how their family celebrates important traditions. The first grader also said that she was not allowed to read the Bible verse which was a part of her family tradition in class and told to sit down and stop speaking. The Advocates for Faith & Freedom group wants Brynn to be allowed to finish her speech and be given a written apology from the teacher.
The Bible in the classroom dispute remains under investigation. Principal Ami Paradise deemed Tammy Williams one the finest educators she has ever worked with and does not deserve the “bullying” and questioning of her professional skills which as occurred.
[Image Via: Shutterstock.com]