School Nurse Puts Up Harmless Charlie Brown Display, Then Principal Confronts Her To Remove It
Patterson Middle School in Killeen, Texas, has caused quite the stir after one school employee's door decoration, which was admired by the students, irked school officials. In fact, she was even reprimanded for it. However, a legal team has come to her defense, as has many people and churches across the country.
Dedra Shannon, a staff member at Patterson Middle School, decided she wanted to give her door to the nurse's office a new look - but when the principal approached her about the words she had written and demanded that they be removed, she knew it was serious. But it wasn't good ol' Charlie Brown that caused the trouble.
Next to the image of Linus from a scene in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on Dedra's board she wrote the words Linus recited in the show when he stands on stage and shared a poignant passage from the Holy Bible that tells the tale of the Christmas story.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the Lord. That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
Dedra told Todd Starnes with Fox News that the principal felt bad about making her take it down, but explained that the words from the Bible violated the U.S. Constitution and was an "issue of separation of church and state."
"She said the poster had to come down because it might offend kids from other religions or those who do not have a religion ... I'm disappointed. It is a slap in the face of Christianity."
The principal said Linus and the Christmas tree could stay, but the words had to come down. Dedra told Fox News that the words were exactly why she put that particular poster up on the door. She also felt it was discriminatory against her as a Christian.
"Throughout the school there are talks about diversity. Well, you aren't being very diverse if you are not allowing the Christians to put something up that refers to a Christian holiday."
People and churches across the country have spoken out in support of Dedra, some from halfway across the country. In fact, just a few days after Dedra was told to take down the famous phrase, Jonathan Saenz, an attorney and president of Texas Values, contacted the Killeen Independent School District to inform it that, on behalf of Dedra, "there is nothing in federal or state law that requires [the school district] to censor Ms. Shannon's poster."
"Banning historical and religious expressions about Christmas shows hostility to religion that must be stopped. It's amazing that even a quote from ‘Charlie Brown's Christmas' is not even safe for some overzealous or misguided government officials. This current national controversy about Christmas is what the Merry Christmas law was designed to prevent when it was passed in 2013. Had Killeen ISD officials simply followed the law and been tolerant and respectful of the diversity of their staff, this incident would not have happened. With just a few days left before Christmas break, the solution is simple and easy for Killeen ISD - allow the Charlie Brown Christmas poster to go back up, in its entirety."
Even Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke out about the incident and challenged the school district to follow the law and leave the sign alone. The school board will be meeting to discuss this issue soon.
"I am proud to have voted for the Merry Christmas law in 2013, when I was a member of the Legislature. We passed that law precisely because of this type of discrimination against people of faith. No school official in Texas can silence a Biblical reference to Christmas. This is an attack on religious liberty and a violation of the First Amendment and state law. I am calling on the school board of the Killeen ISD to immediately reverse their unlawful decision."
So what do you think? Should the poster and Linus' quote remain on the door at a public school or should it be taken down?
Sources: Fox News, Facebook/FirstBaptistMcDonoughWestCampus, Texas Values
FB Image: Facebook/FirstBaptistMcDonoughWestCampus