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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Attorney: Teacher Seized Christmas Candy Canes, Told Student ‘Jesus Is Not Allowed In School’

WEST COVINA ( — Religious freedom advocates are calling on the West Covina Unified School District to adopt policy changes and issue a formal apology after an alleged bullying incident involving a 6-year-old Christian student.

Advocates for Faith & Freedom, an Irvine-based nonprofit law firm, issued a letter Monday on behalf of Isaiah Martinez, a first grader at Merced Elementary School.

On Dec. 13. 2013, Martinez took traditional candy canes as Christmas gifts for his teacher, Valerie Lu, and classmates, according to attorney Robert Tyler.
Each candy cane came with a message attached that recited the history of the candy cane, including references to the candy as a symbol of Jesus Christ, according to the letter (PDF) dated Jan. 6.

Attorneys say when Martinez brought the candy canes to class, Lu took possession of them and after conferring with school principal Gordon Pfitzer, told Martinez that “Jesus is not allowed in school.”
Lu, at the apparent direction of Pfitzer, then ripped the candy cane message from each candy cane, threw them in the trash and returned the candy canes back to Martinez for delivery to his classmates, according to attorneys.

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