Nothing sacred

A fifth-grade teacher in California claims he was told not to give students “documents from American history that refer to God — including the Declaration of Independence.” From Reuters:

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek Elementary School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

. . . Williams asserts in the lawsuit that since May he has been required to submit all of his lesson plans and supplemental handouts to Vidmar for approval, and that the principal will not permit him to use any that contain references to God or Christianity.

Among the materials she has rejected, according to Williams, are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s journal, John Adams’ diary, Samuel Adams’ “The Rights of the Colonists” and William Penn’s “The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania.”

Stevens Creek is a top-scoring school; a majority of students are Asian-American. I find it hard to believe they’re not allowed to read the historical documents that state history standards require schools to teach, as The Remedy, Claremont Institute’s weblog, points out. It sounds too crazy.

Via Powerline.

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Comments

  1. Mike in Texas says:

    Well, this is not surprising at all. Thanks to the ACLU, politicians with no backbones and the ridiculous concepts of PC you’ll have this kind of nonsense going on in schools. I’ve seen a textbook called We the People that didn’t contain the preamble to the Constitution. It did have two pages on Maya Angelou and nothing about Thomas Jefferson though.

  2. It’s true that schools oversecularize but this doesn’t appear to be an example.

    If you read the Reuters article and read between the lines, it appears that Williams has a religious agenda.

    First of all, teachers are not supposed to have free speech in the classroom. Like all employees, when they’re on duty, their employer has a right to regulate their speech. This is why when I go to Target, the checker asks me if I found everything I was looking for and is referring to items in the store, not personal salvation.

    Second, the fact that his principal wants to review his curriculum choices is not discrimination. It’s the principal’s job.

    My son is a very bright 5th grader but if his teacher assigned the Federalist Papers, I’d wonder why. And if they seemed to be excerpts that simply commented on devotion toward God, I’d be suspicious.

    If Williams is handing out selections from the Declaration of Independence that only refer to God, his students aren’t being served.

  3. Mike in Texas says:

    I’ve gotta disagree with you on this one Robert. PC or not, many of the principles our country is founded on are religious in belief and our early forms of govt. make many references to God. To try to censor this out is PC run amok. No principal or school official should have the authority to censor part of the Declaration of Independence.

  4. I read about this yesterday on Fark, and some bloggers are suggesting that this teacher’s “supplemental handouts” were designed to imply that the USA has always been a Christian country. The Smoking Gun also has the actual complaint. I’m still waiting to hear from the school itself what the point of reviewing this teacher’s material was, when apparently this was not standard procedure for other teachers.

  5. Since the very beginning, I have been following this story closely. As a veteran California teacher, I suspect that there is more than meet the eye in this case. I have decided to withhold judgement until I can study a few more sources than the ones that most are citing, World Net Daily (and Reuters, which is essentially a rework of WND)

  6. Joanne Jacobs is always right, and not only that, she’ brilliant.

    No wonder she finds Willams’s claim hard to believe. I don’t believe it at all.

    It’s reasonable to conclude from reading the Reuters article that the district isn’t censoring historical documents because they include references to God.

    It’s also reasonable to question why on earth anybody would assign works by John and Samuel Adams to 5th graders. For the love of primary sources? I don’t think so.

    Public schools can be absurd, but this doesn’t appear to be an example.

  7. Let’s consider some facts. This law suit was filed Monday. The story appears to have first appeared at World Net Daily at noon, eastern time on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Drudge posted the Reuters version time stamped 4:15 at about 4:30. Drudge subsequently posted the phone number of the principal.

    Nothing at the Mercury News. Nothing at Joanne Jacobs.

    I smell a set-up.

    Also check out the California Fifth Grade History Standards 5.4 titled “5.4 Students understand the political, religious, social,and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.”

    Looking forward to the full explanation Monday.

  8. The news reports say that the close supervision started after a parent complained. I’m guessing it is an observant parent who is a non-Christian (Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu–all I believe are represented at SCE).

    Williams complains at church how he is being “censored” and one of his religous acquaintances suggests contacting the defense fund.

    If I were a parent in that school, I’d be apoplectic that scarce school funds are being diverted to pay for a frivolous suit.

  9. The word “God” isn’t mentioned in the Constitution once.

    Personally, since Maya Angelou never owned a slave, I just might give her the nod over Tommy J.

    –Cobra

  10. “Personally, since Maya Angelou never owned a slave, I just might give her the nod over Tommy J.”

    I do hope you’re kidding.

  11. I find it a bit odd that the teacher tried to use the National Day of Prayer Proclamation as an example of a presidential proclamation. There are hundreds if not thousands of Procs to choose from that are not related to God.

  12. “Personally, since Maya Angelou never owned a slave, I just might give her the nod over Tommy J.”

    >>>I do hope you’re kidding.
    –Adrian

    Oh, no. Maya Angelou never owned a slave. I’m not kidding. That’s an historical fact.

    Now, Tommy Jefferson on the other hand…

    –Cobra

  13. “Oh, no. Maya Angelou never owned a slave. I’m not kidding. That’s an historical fact.

    Now, Tommy Jefferson on the other hand…”

    Well, DUH!

  14. “I find it a bit odd that the teacher tried to use the National Day of Prayer Proclamation as an example of a presidential proclamation. There are hundreds if not thousands of Procs to choose from that are not related to God.”

    The teacher was just begging to get nailed on that one.

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