Brynn Williams was interrupted and rebuked by her teacher at an elementary school in Temecula, California last month while giving a speech for a school assignment on Christmas family traditions about her family's celebration of Jesus Christ's birth.
Fox News reports that the first grade students in Brynn's class were asked to give a one-minute speech on an item that represented a family Christian tradition, and Brynn had brought the star of Bethlehem to class, which her family puts atop their Christmas tree. Her speech was about how her family focuses on the birth of Jesus Christ during the Christmas season - "The three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world," she told the class, just before being interrupted by her teacher. Brynn's teacher told her to "Stop right there!" and asked the six-year-old to take her seat. She then told Brynn in front of her entire class that she was not allowed to talk about the Bible.
"She was hurt," Brynn's father, Shane Williams, told NBC News - "[Brynn] felt that she had done something wrong and was going to be punished for it." Upon hearing the story from Brynn after school, Gina Williams tried to comfort her daughter - "I told her she was not in trouble, and I was proud of her," she said.
The Williams family was told by the principal that Brynn's teacher was following the proper procedures established by the school and was trying to protect the other students from being offended by Brynn's speech. Yet, NBC News reports that the school's policies read:
"Students may express their beliefs about religion in their homework, artwork and other class work if the expression is germane to the assignment."
Lawyers with The Advocates for Faith & Freedom have contacted the elementary school, asking that they apologize to Brynn and demanding that the school protect the children's religious liberties. "Students do not shed their constitutional rights by entering the schoolhouse gates. They have first-amendment liberties of speech," says the organization's general counsel, Robert Tyler.
Brynn had hoped to recite John 3:16 to end her presentation, but never got the chance to. It reads:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (English Standard Version).