When a public school teacher in California noticed a seven-year-old boy giving handwritten notes to other students during lunchtime, she told him to stop even though the notes he was giving other students were not causing harm, but designed to inspire the kids.
The notes in the boy's lunchbox that he was giving out to other kids were written by his mom, and they were simple Bible verses. However, a controversy developed, and the elementary school eventually sent the local sheriff to the boy's home to request he stop distributing the Bible verse notes.
Not surprisingly, the Liberty Counsel, a Christian nonprofit litigation group, is supporting the boy and his family against the school. They claim to be considering legal action against Desert Rose Elementary School of Palmdale for "an outrageous violation of a first grader's constitutional rights."
At first, the young man ("C") read bible verses to his school friends during lunch. Sometimes his friends would even make copies of verses after hearing C read them aloud. The bible verse took off and C asked his mom, Christina Zavala, to include a few bible verses in his lunchbox for his friends. Christina even put copies of bible verses with short stories for explanation.
However, a teacher soon called to inform Christina that her son could not pass out the verses at school, because of "separation of church and state." C was instructed to only distribute the Bible notes after school, and by the school's gate.
Within a couple of weeks, getting a bible verse at the school gate became popular, and soon there were as many as 15 kids congregating at the gate after school. A few weeks later, school Principal Melanie Pagliaro spoke to Jaime Zavala, C's father, and asked that C move the bible verse gathering off of school property. C and Jaime cooperated fully, and the Bible verse swap now happened on the public sidewalk in front of the school.
Then, in a sudden escalation, a Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff came to the Zavala's home, telling Jaime and Christina that C could no longer give out the bible verse notes. The deputy claimed that "someone might be offended" by a Bible verse.
Raul Maldonado, the Palmdale School District superintendent, noted in a statement that the district was still reviewing the case. He did confirm that a sheriff’s officer was sent to Jaime and Christina's home, but would not provide any other details.