Officials at the Berkeley Unified School District are investigating an allegation that Jefferson Elementary School teacher Gwen Martin not only told her students that Santa and the Easter Bunny were fakes but told them that God is very real.
Under the California Education Code, there is an express mandate that “nothing in this code shall be construed to prevent, or exclude from the public schools, references to religion or references to or the use of religious literature, dance, music, theatre, and visual arts or other things having a religious significance when such references or uses do not constitute instruction in religious principles or aid to any religious sect, church, creed, or sectarian purpose and when such references or uses are incidental to or illustrative of matters properly included in the course of study.”
That would seem to be abridged if a teacher calls for children to cut out Santa and the Easter Bunny to make room for God in their hearts and minds. I suppose it is still better than the racist lesson in a Florida public school this month.
Parents say that the lesson came as part of a discussion of the difference between fiction and non-fiction with her students. Martin reportedly listed Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Harry Potter under fiction on the blackboard — which immediately caused various children to burst into tears. The matter is being investigated by Jefferson’s new (and aptly named) principal, Maggie Riddle.
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