When 12 year-old Mackenzie Frazier was assigned an “All About Me” project that required an inspirational quote, she knew exactly which one she’d choose. Unfortunately her school wasn’t having it, but now they’re regretting giving the spunky sixth grader any trouble in the first place.
Mackenzie was assigned the project by her technology teacher at Somerset Academy. For her quote, Mackenzie chose the Bible verse John:3.16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
It’s a great quote, but after she read it, Mackenzie’s teacher informed her she would need to change it because it went against school policy. Though she was disappointed, Mackenzie changed her quote to something non-biblical.
Months later, however, Mackenzie tried to use a Bible quote again in a leadership project to describe her self esteem. When Mackenzie was once again told she could not use a biblical quote, her father emailed the school telling them that they were violating his daughter’s freedom of speech.
The school, however, wouldn’t back down, so Mackenzie’s parents contacted the Liberty Institute, and the organization quickly took up her case to advocate for Christian students.
The senior counsel for the organization contacted the school and quoted the Department of Education, saying “Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments.”
After a brief legal battle, the constitution finally won out, and the school was forced to apologize. Here is their statement:
“After reviewing the facts of this particular situation, Somerset Academy recognizes that the teacher and assistant principal incorrectly implemented [Department of Education] guidelines. Somerset Academy of Las Vegas and its Administrators apologize for this inadvertent error. Expression of a student’s religious beliefs in the form of homework, artwork, and other written or oral assignments is protected speech and should have been allowed in this instance…The student will be allowed to resubmit her original presentation, inclusive of her religious beliefs.”
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