Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Teacher Told Student Giving Out Jesusy Candy Canes 'Jesus Is Not Allowed In School'

Candy canes of all stripes (Photo by Marcy Leigh via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

A Christian group has threatened to file a lawsuit against a school district after a first-grader complained that he wasn't allowed to give out candy canes with a Christian message.

Before Christmas, 6-year-old Isaiah Martinez brought in some candy canes affixed with an apocryphal story about the true Christian meaning of the candy. He wanted to give the candy out to his classmates at Merced Elementary school in West Covina, but his teacher Valerie Lu confiscated the candy, threw away the Christian story with the blessing of her principal and told Martinez "Jesus is not allowed in school," according to a release put out by Advocates for Faith and Freedom. School officials told Martinez's older sister, who helped him put together the candy canes, that he wasn't allowed to hand out the legend of the candy cane—not because it's totally fake but because it's considered religious.

Advocates For Faith and Freedom called the school's actions toward Martinez "hostile and intimidating" and claimed it violated Martinez's First Amendment rights. They asked for a formal apology from the school, as well as a policy change:

"This policy will also need to affirm the right of students to express and communicate their own religious viewpoints on school property without fear of rebuke by school officials. This will help to ensure that young students like Isaiah are not intimidated by school officials into believing that there is something wrong with their religion or their religious views."
Support for LAist comes from

School district officials haven't responded to requests for comment.