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Family Says Boy Harassed For Passing Out Christian Candy Canes

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Unread 01.07.14, 09:26 PM
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Family Says Boy Harassed For Passing Out Christian Candy Canes

01.07.14 01:51 PM

WEST COVINA, Calif. (UPI) — The family of a young Los Angeles-area boy says he should have been allowed to hand out candy canes with a Christian message at his elementary school.

A lawyer says a teacher at Merced Elementary School told Isaiah Martinez, 6, that “Jesus is not allowed at school,” KTLA reported. Robert Tyler is general counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom, a nonprofit group that maintains the United States was founded as a Judaeo-Christian country.

“The actions of the school district were hostile and intimidating to Isaiah,” Tyler said in a letter Monday to the West Covina Unified School District.

Tyler said the school district must apologize to Isaiah and create a new policy banning bullying or intimidation of students for religious reasons.

Isaiah brought the candy canes to school on Dec. 13. They included printed information saying the candy has a religious inspiration.

“I pray that this symbol will again be used to witness to the Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominant force in the universe today,” the text said.

According to one story, candy canes were invented by a choir master in Cologne, Germany, in 1670 who wanted to keep his young singers quiet. To make the candy a teaching tool, he had them shaped like the crooks the shepherds would have carried and white-colored, representing the purity of Jesus.

Snopes.com investigated the story and found the first references to candy canes were in the 19th century and they only became associated with Christmas some years later.

Isiaiah was eventually allowed to distribute the candy canes just off the school property.

Superintendent Debra Kaplan said the district has not yet begun its investigation. She said schools and teachers must perform a “difficult balancing act” on religion, especially during the Christmas season.

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