A Christian group has filed a lawsuit against a school district after a first-grader complained that he wasn’t allowed to hand out candy canes last Christmas with a message of Jesus.
Before Christmas last year, Isaiah Martinez wanted to give out the candy affixed with a religious story to his classmates at Merced Elementary School in West Covina, Calif., The Blaze reports.
But the 7-year-old’s teacher confiscated the candy and threw away the messages in the trash, telling the boy, “Jesus is not allowed in school.”
According to the Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a conservative legal group representing the child and his family, these holiday treats “consisted of a traditional candy cane with a message attached that recited the legend of the candy cane.”
Now Martinez and his family are requesting a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to prevent the school from stopping his candy-cane distribution this year.
“The school has neglected to correct its actions, and after exhausting all options to avoid a lawsuit we were left with no choice but to file a complaint in federal court,” attorney Robert Tyler said in a press release. “We are asking the court to protect Isaiah’s rights and the rights of others like him from having their religious speech censored.”
Another attorney for the Advocates, James A. Long, said the injunction came because the school district has made it clear that “the only theology allowed in the classroom is the government’s theology, it has given every indication that it will again prohibit Isaiah from passing out the candy cane legend at his school’s holiday party in the name of ‘religious neutrality.'"