You can’t give students an assignment called “All About Me” and not expect at least some of them to delve into their own personal religious beliefs. Our religious beliefs, after all, are what define us and drive us. At the very heart of our identity is what we believe about God. No one is exempt from this, as much as Atheists pretend to be. Their professed non-belief in God is what drives them and the rest of their belief system.
A teacher at Somerset Academy, a public charter school in North Las Vegas, Nevada, gave her 6th graders an assignment to work on called “All About Me.” As you can glean from the title of the assignment, students were tasked with giving a presentation to their class about themselves.
One of the students is Mackenzie Fraiser, a daughter of a preacher. Being the daughter of a preacher, is it really all that surprising that she’d want to talk about Christianity in her presentation and use a Bible verse in one of her slides? Of course not. She’s trying to tell her classmates all about herself, and who she is, is all about her relationship with Jesus.
But her teacher didn’t want to offend the other classmates, so she decided to prohibit Mackenzie from using a slide that had John 3:16 on it. She didn’t want her to expose the rest of the class to her religion. The Daily Caller reported:
Fraiser’s teacher refused to allow her to include the slide containing the Bible verse and showing her strong Christian beliefs.
When her father, Tim Frasier, a pastor at nondenominational Grace Point Church, eventually learned about the incident around the end of April, he was unhappy.
“Can you please explain if this is true?” the mad dad wrote to school officials in an April 29 email obtained by the Review-Journal. “Perhaps, she misunderstood you? Since I am certain you understand that this clearly infringes on my daughters/your students right to freedom of speech, I want to make sure we understand your instructions.”
Assistant principal Jenyan Martinez replied a couple days later, totally confident that the taxpayer-funded school was in the right to prevent the free exercise of religion.
“When Mackenzie created the project with the expectation she would present the Biblical saying to the class, the matter became one of having a captive audience that would be subject to her religious beliefs,” Martinez instructed the pastor. “Had the assignment been designed to simply hand in for a grade, this would not have been an issue. Therefore, considering the circumstances of the assignment, Miss Jardine appropriately followed school law expectations by asking Mackenzie to choose an alternate quote for the presentation.”
The elder Frasier responded to this response by soliciting the help of Liberty Institute.
An attorney for the religious rights law firm, Jeremy Dys, organized a meeting with the Frasier family and, of course, members of the local press in front of a federal courthouse.
Dys is demanding an apology to the family. He also wants to force the school to accept the sixth grader’s “All About Me” assignment with the John 3:16 slide. Otherwise, he said, he will file a First Amendment lawsuit.
I can only imagine what would have happened if there was a Muslim student who wanted to present some verses from the Koran and talk about his Muslim faith. Probably a whole lot of nothing.