Killeen, Texas, middle school staffer Dedra Shannon put a poster based on the famous Christmas TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas," on the nurse's office door on Dec. 5.
The door-length poster included a drawing of Linus and his Christian monologue from the special: "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," according to Fox News.
The school’s principal talked to Shannon about it on Dec. 7: "She said, 'Please don’t hate me, but unfortunately you’re going to have to take your poster down.' I’m disappointed. It is a slap in the face of Christianity."
The principal explained to Shannon how the poster violated the Establishment Clause in the Constitution, which courts have said doesn't allow the government (including public schools) to favor any religion over another.
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"She said my poster is an issue of separation of church and state," Shannon recalled. "She said the poster had to come down because it might offend kids from other religions or those who do not have a religion."
The principal gave Shannon the option of keeping Linus and removing the Christian verse, but Shannon said she refused the compromise offer:
I just took the entire thing down. I wasn’t going to leave Linus and the Christmas tree without having the dialogue. That’s the whole point of why it was put up...
...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.
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Shannon’s father, Pastor Danny Brey, added: "People want us to be tolerant for everything -- but they don’t tolerate Christianity. They bow down to everything else -- but when it comes to Christianity…"
In response to the Fox News report, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said there is a state law that says school officials are not allowed to censor a Biblical reference to "Christmas" (a holiday that never is celebrated in the Bible):
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.
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.
The Dallas Morning News reported in October that Paxton is going to trial as early as next spring on two felony charges of securities fraud.