Be careful how you answer . . .
A religious rights advocate is troubled by a recent occurrence of censorship at a Mississippi school.
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, sixth-grader Andrew White was given a creative expression assignment as part of his language class. Students were allowed to choose from three topics, and Andrew chose "What Christmas Means to Me." Andrew wrote a poem titled "A Great Christmas" that reads: "The best Christmas ever is when everyone is there. It is when everyone is laughing here and there. That is the Christmas I want to share. Christmas is about Jesus' birth. About peace on Earth. This is what Christmas is about. It is when He lay in a manger. And the three wise men come to see. That's what it means to me." After Andrew referenced Jesus in his poem, his teacher Latasha Atkins docked his grade and told him that mentioning Jesus was not allowed. She then instructed him to write a new poem. Matt Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, disagrees with Atkins' point-of-view. "The good news is that the principal, Carrie Hornsby, eventually sided with Andrew and his parents, changing his grade to a 100 and conceding that there was nothing improper in using the name of Jesus," he notes. The most horrifying part of the story, according to Staver, is that this sixth-grader was told that Jesus is not allowed in public school. "I think some educators need education that the story of Christmas, and the birth of Jesus, is not banned from our public schools," he points out. Principal Hornsby did, in fact, tell school teachers to write letters home to parents informing them that religious expression is permitted under federal guidelines. However, Andrew's paper was supposed to be displayed at the Winter's Writers Board, and it was not.