A charter school – Somerset Academy – has now issued a formal written apology to 12-year-old Mackenzie Fraiser for telling the young girl she can’t mention The Bible in class.
Imagine a school telling a child she can’t talk about her faith?
School officials have now agreed to allow the sixth-grader to resubmit her original project, this time with her favorite Bible verse — John 3:16 — included.
Mackenzie Fraiser is 12-years-old. She’s a sixth grader at Somerset Academy, a charter school in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Mackenzie is also a Christian.
The teacher had a problem with Mackenzie’s inspirational message. She explained to the class that none of the students would be allowed to use any Bible verses or quotations from the Book of Mormon. The message was clear – you cannot be inspired by religion.
In February, she was instructed by her technology teacher to create a PowerPoint demonstration about her life. One of the requirements was to include a slide with an inspirational message.
So Mackenzie decided to use a Bible verse – specifically John 3:16. That familiar passage reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
But the teacher had a problem with Mackenzie’s inspirational message. She explained to the class that none of the students would be allowed to use any Bible verses or quotations from the Book of Mormon.
The message was clear – you cannot be inspired by religion.
Mackenzie, whose father is a pastor, told me she was terribly disappointed and concerned.
“When I was told I couldn’t use a Bible verse, I was afraid I was doing something wrong,” she said.
So Mackenzie obeyed the teacher’s edict and settled for a mundane secular saying.
A few months later, the little girl received another assignment. This time, she was told to address the topic of self-esteem.
She discussed the assignment with her parents, Tim and Kate Fraiser. They suggested she acknowledge she derives her self-esteem from having been made in the image of God.
It was at that point, Mackenzie said she would not be allowed to mention the Almighty. Her teacher had once again barred any reference to faith in the technology classroom.
Tim thought his daughter must have been mistaken. Perhaps she misunderstood the teacher’s directive? So he fired off an email to the school seeking clarification.
The Department of Education has threatened to withhold funding for any public school that did not protect the rights of transgender students. I believe schools should be held to the same standard for religious students.
But what do I know?