An Alabama school district has rescinded a principal’s ban on using the word ‘Easter’ to describe bunnies or eggs.
Dee Fowler, the superintendent of Madison City Schools, said all seasonal activities like Christmas and Easter are acceptable in city schools, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.
“These traditions are a part of our rich heritage and I do not see them as infringing on ones’ religious rights,” Fowler wrote in a letter to parents. “Additionally, words such as Christmas and Easter are not banned at our schools.”
Television station WHNT reported that Lydia Davenport, the principal of Heritage Elementary School told teachers that no activities related to or centered around any religious holiday would be allowed – in the interest of religious diversity.
“We had in the past a parent to question us about some of the things we do here at school,” said Davenport. “So we’re just trying to make sure we respect and honor everybody’s differences.”
The principal then stepped in and cancelled the school’s Easter Egg hunt for kindergarden and second grade students, the superintendent said.
“Kids love the bunny and we just make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter Bunny’ so that we don’t infringe on the rights of others because people relate the Easter bunny to religion,” she told the television station. “ A bunny is a bunny and a rabbit is a rabbit.”
Fowler said after meeting with the principal, the students were allowed to participate in their previously planned Easter Egg hunt — before taking off for Spring Break.
“After conversation, it was decided that the hunt was not in violation of any policies or procedures, and that it could proceed as planned,” Fowler wrote.
Charles and Cynthia Erwin are parents in Madison. They were greatly troubled by the decision to ban the word ‘Easter’.
“It’s so sad that we find our faith being challenged so often and so aggressively in America today,” Erwin said. “Having this happen in conservative Alabama is shocking to me — but unfortunately is symptomatic of what’s going on in the rest of the United States.
So the Erwins contacted the Liberty Institute, a legal firm that handles religious liberty cases.
“Clearly established Supreme Court precedent prohibits schools from censoring religious speech of students and parents,” attorney Hiram Sasser told Fox News. “In addition, there is no case that exists that bans school officials from using the word Easter to describe the Easter holiday or cultural activities that are associated with Easter.”
Sasser said based on the school superintendent’s letter, if a principal in the district ever bans the words ‘Christmas’ or ‘Easter’, it will clearly be hostility and not for some other educational or legal reason.