Lawsuit filed after teacher throws away child's Valentine's Day message with news of God's love to classmates
Controversy in Nazareth, PA.
A little boy is heartbroken and his parents are filing suit after his teacher threw away his Valentine's Day cards.
Last week, Donald and Ellen Abramo sued Nazareth Area School District for a civil rights violation. The suit alleges that the school district allowed Valentine's Day cards with "secular messages" such as human skulls, guns, and weapons, but censored their son's card, which had a religious message.
The Abramo's first-grader, who is only identified as "J.A.," attends Floyd Shafer Elementary School, a public school in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The school refers to Valentine's Day as "Friendship Day" in order to be more politically correct, the lawsuit states. J.A. brought store-bought Valentine's Day cards to school, but included a type-written note with each card.
The note read:
"Happy Valentine's Day!
"St. Valentine was imprisoned and martyred for presiding over marriages and for spreading the news of God's love.
"In honor of St. Valentine's Day, I want you to know that God loves YOU!!!"
The note also included a Bible verse:
"'...God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone that believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life.' John 3:16."
According to the lawsuit, when J.A.'s teacher, Mrs. Carol Engelman, saw the religious message inside the cards, she alerted her superior, Principal William Mudlock. He directed Mrs. Engelman to remove the note, and called Mrs. Abramo to explain that as the note might be "offensive to someone," it could not be distributed.
Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Matt Sharp stated that J.A. was significantly impacted by the incident.
"The student was upset about this," he told WFMZ Allentown. "He and his siblings that had also prepared them had put a lot of work into these and to see all of your hard work basically thrown out because it was religious. He was upset by it."
The family is asking the district to do away with their current policy, and allow students to give their classmates religious materials.
The district has not released a statement regarding the lawsuit.