A school in Killeen, Texas, sparked controversy after reportedly removing a Charlie Brown Christmas decoration featuring the word "Christ" and a Bible quote on Dec. 7.
In the decoration, Charlie Brown character Linux recites a quote stating Christ is "What Christmas is all about" alongside a Bible passage, Breitbart reports.
Charles E. Patterson Middle School employee Dedra Shannon says the principal asked her to remove the Bible passage after she placed them upon the nurse's office door.
“I just took the entire thing down,” explained Shannon. “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.”
Although she followed the principal's orders, Shannon said she was offended, notes conservative blogger Todd Starnes.
“She [the principal] said, ‘please don’t hate me, but unfortunately you’re going to have to take your poster down,’” Shannon said.
“Throughout the school there are talks about diversity," she added. "Well, you aren’t being very diverse if you are not allowing the Christians to put something up that refers to a Christian holiday."
The Killeen ISD responded in support of the principal in a statement:
Our employees are free to celebrate the Christmas and Holiday season in the manner of their choosing. However, employees are not permitted to impose their personal beliefs on students. The display in question was a six‐foot‐plus tall door decoration in the main hallway of the school building, and included a reference to a Bible verse covering much of the door. Upon review, it is clear that this display was not in keeping with the Merry Christmas Bill (House Bill 308), which requires that a display not encourage adherence to a particular religion.
The Merry Christmas Bill refers to a controversial Texas law passed in 2013 designed to protect those who celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah.
It is a law that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton -- who helped pass the bill -- believes the school has violated in this instance by asking Shannon to remove the Bible verse.
"We passed that law precisely because of this type of discrimination against people of faith," said Paxton. "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."