Student's 'My Hero Is Jesus' Assignment Rejected by Teacher in North Carolina Elementary School

Jeannie LawMar 20, 2014 11:18 AM EDT

North Carolina elementary school reportedly prohibited an 8-year-old student from writing about Jesus for a class assignment.

Mother of the young girl, Heather Watts, said her daughter, Ryleigh, who attends the second grade class at Cerro Gordo Elementary School, was asked by her teacher to look for another topis to write about. Watts told WCET-TV news station the Teacher is accused of asking the student, "Can't you write about something different?"

"I think she should have freedom to write about what she wants to write about," the unhappy mother said. "If she wants to write about Jesus, she should write about Jesus."

A copy of Ryleigh's assignment was published by WECT-TV. It reads, in part, "My hero is Jesus because he helps me, makes me better. He also makes good things happen."

Watts claims this question is threatening her daughter's First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

A statement from the Columbus County School denies the incident: 

"After speaking with both the teacher and the principal, we have learned that students were not restricted from writing on any topic of their choosing. Columbus County Schools encourages student expression in all aspects of our educational program. We also have an open-door policy, and encourage our parents and guardians to contact or visit their child's school to address any concerns."

Watts said after meeting with her daughter's principal and teacher, the issue has not been resolved and Ryleigh is still being asked to write about something different.

In Dec. of last year an a similar report was made about an Elementary School in California who reportedly displayed unwarranted antagonism toward first grader Brynn Williams when she spoke about her faith during a presentation about holiday traditions.

In addition, Lucy Elementary School in Memphis, Tenn., inevitably reversed course and decided to accept and grade an assignment that was initially banned after the girl's mother spoke out to media last year, after a teacher told 10-year-old Erin Shead that she could not write about God for a Class assignment.



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