Public School Teacher Allegedly Rejects 8-Year-Old’s Paper for Citing Jesus as Her Hero


Public school docCOLUMBUS COUNTY, NC – According to the mother of an 8-year-old girl in North Carolina, a public school teacher rejected a paper by her daughter because it cited Jesus as her hero.

Heather Watts told local NBC affiliate WECT that her daughter Ryleigh is in the second grade at Cerro Gordo Elementary School in Columbus County. For a recent open-ended school assignment prompt, Ryleigh wrote, “My hero is Jesus.”

“My hero is Jesus because he helps me … He also makes good things happen,” Ryleigh wrote on the paper.

According to Watts, the paper was rejected by school officials. Ryleigh’s teachers allegedly asked her, “Can’t you write about something different?”

Watts was incensed, saying the school officials infringed upon her daughter’s First Amendment rights.

“I think she should have freedom to write about what she wants to write about,” Watts told WECT. “If she wants to write about Jesus, she should write about Jesus.”

After local media outlets reported the incident, Cerro Gordo Elementary School released a statement, in which they denied the mother’s claims.

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“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,” the statement says. “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.”

Nevertheless, Watts stands by her allegations. She told reporters that the issue has still not been resolved, as teachers insist that Ryleigh write a paper with a different theme.

Columbus County Schools’ official guidebook prohibits discrimination based on religion.

“The board acknowledges the dignity and worth of all students and employees and strives to create a safe, orderly, caring and inviting school environment to facilitate student learning and achievement,” the school guidebook states. “The board will not tolerate any form of unlawful discrimination … in any of its educational or employment activities.”

“Discrimination means any act or failure to act that unreasonably and unfavorably differentiates treatment of others based solely on their membership in a socially distinct group or category, such as race, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, religion, age or disability,” the guidebook says.

Many commenters on online news sites took offense at the school district’s apparent rejection of Ryleigh’s paper.

“The problem that should worry us here is not if this young child’s ‘constitutional rights’ were violated,” one commenter posited. “The real problem I see is that we have a group of ‘educators’ that do not have even a rudimentary understanding of the U.S. constitution [and] what it says about religion and the government. Even if you buy the ‘separation of church and state’ (as we have now morphed it), nowhere does even that perverted version of the constitution say that you can’t be religious in or at a public function.”

“Imagine that in a nation that was built for the very reason of religious persecution is now become the haven for the intolerant and a nation of moral depravity,” another commenter wrote. “… If [the U.S. Founding Fathers] could see America today, would they have made more effort to ensure God remained relevant in government?”

As previously reported, an elementary school in Tennessee rejected a similar assignment from a 10-year-old girl last year because it mentioned God. However, following a national outcry, school officials changed their minds and accepted the student’s assignment.

Photo: WECT 

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  • Nyar Ruoth

    Jesus of Nazareth is still the commander.Thank u God for the great Name of Jesus.Every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.This name Jesus is powerfull.when the enemy hear it they submit.

  • Damaris Scalzi

    We are the only nation that gives up our kids to and educational system that rejects God and then complains about it. Don’t get me wrong, I agree the actions of these educators are wrong. However when are we going to realize our children ought to get an education that does not contradict the truth of who we are as a nation. Remove your children from these institutions that aim at destroying our children’s faith and destiny in God.Let’s get our kids what they need and prepare them for a life in Christ at home or in a Christian school. Let’s build more of the institutions that build our children and put the government school system out of business. We are more than conquerors through him that strengthens us.

  • Mike

    There’s a very simple and effective solution to the outright failure that is the public school system….homeschool your kids!!!!

  • assata

    Maybe if she write about Hitler it would’ve been acceptable.

  • Shade yusuf Akilu

    I pray that God take total control of the situation and surely the devils kingdom must fall!! IJN

  • http://www.kiernan.blog.com John J Kiernan

    Tale out children out pc all public schools. Demand they ste defunded and fins schooling via vouchers. Allow thé parents to Pau thé school directly.

  • Cristan Alto

    It says in the Holy Bible, ” He that honors Me, I will honor him”.

  • Claudia Gozberk

    I guess if she would have said justin briber or Marilyn Manson that would have been ok? That teacher sure has a strange way of teaching. I guess it really must be “HER” classroom and no one is allowed how to speak, feel or believe the way they truly feel, they all have to do what the “teacher” says or off to the principal office you go with an “F” as your grade! How sad!! We are in America the last time I looked. You can not change someone’s beliefs even if you wish too, or you shouldn’t!

  • Crystal

    I would have given the child an A+++++. She is RIGHT 100%. Jesus should be everyone’s hero, and maybe if he was there would not be so much hurt and bad things going on in the world around us. Why can’t people see the more that they try to kick the Lord’s names that the world becomes worse and worse. You go Ryleigh for what you wrote, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. ALWAYS KEEP JESUS AS YOUR HERO, AND YOU WILL BE JUST FINE. YOU GO GIRL!!!!!

  • http://FaceBook Pat Enomoto

    A child is told to find someone different that inspires her? If the teacher checked, this little girl had picked the best teacher of all and this paper should be graded on the same standard that other papers were graded on. Are our teachers that afraid of their jobs that they cannot allow a student her freedom of speech. Her paper would not have affected anyone else in the class and would not be published if it had not been rejected.

    In Colorado a girl is asked to leave her school because she showed love, courage and great compassion by shaving her head to match her friend who is fighting that big fight, Cancer!

    Teachers, I am worried about you, what you are being taught and what you are teaching.