Teacher Forced to Remove Nativity Scene School Bulletin Board in Northeast Arkansas


The administration at Greene County School District made the counselor, Kay Williams, take down a bulletin board nativity scene last week. The scene showed two adoring children at the manger with the words Happy Birthday Jesus.  The newspaper story in the Paragould Daily Press reported:


"School counselor Kay Williams said she has decorated the board with a nativity scene every year for more than 20 years and was told to take it down last week after the school received a complaint from a citizen ... Mr. Oxford told me it was a very brief conversation," Williams said. "He [the caller] just kind of said  'I don"t like that bulletin board in the hall. I want it down now,' and just hung up."


So with just one complaint from one citizen, and the bulletin board with the nativity scene had to come down when according to a Fox poll, 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas.


The story continues:


 "It was just breaking my heart to take this down," Williams said. "I thought I would wait until after school to take it down."

Williams said she was summoned to the office by the school"s principal Sherry Vance before the end of the school day. She said she met with Vance and Oxford in Vance's office, and Vance asked why the display had not been removed. Williams said Vance ordered her to leave the school "and not come back" until Vance or Noble contacted her.

"She [Vance] was very angry with me," Williams said. "She was saying 'get your stuff and get out of here right now.'"  Williams said she was under the impression she had been fired or suspended. [Later she was called and told to come back to work]


GCT superintendent Jerry Noble said he ordered the decoration's removal after the school district's attorney, Donn Mixon, advised him the district would likely lose a court battle if the complainant pursued the matter in court


My responsibility is to protect the school district from getting into a legal entanglement that would cost the taxpayers money," Noble said. "Even though I believe this is a Christian nation. The majority [of Americans] are Christians, and we should be able to recognize that. But, my beliefs don't matter when it comes to the law."


Jerry Halsell with the Trumpet for Heritage Ministry said the nativity scene could be on display without violating any laws. Halsell, when learning of the controversy surrounding the nativity scene, volunteered to assist Williams. He provided the Daily Press with several memos from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) stating that a nativity scene displayed in a public school does not violate the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the ADF web site, the ADF is America"s largest legal alliance defending religious liberty through strategy, training, funding and litigation. [Halsell also volunteered to give this information to the Superintendent.]  To read the entire story with numerous comments, 95% in favor of the nativity scene, see this link:  http://www.paragoulddailypress.com/articles/2011/12/09/top_story/doc4ee154237d44e926489831.txt#blogcomments


You can go to this link and find all superintendents' and principals' emails in the state by county. http://arkansased.org/about/pdf/directory/directory_10-11_020411.pdf 

kay.williams@gctsd.k12.ar.us  Kay Williams, the counselor who had the courage to put up the nativity scene bulletin board and risk her job by being honest with the reporter to get this information out.

Letter from the Christian Alliance Defense Fund to Superintendents on rights of students: http://oldsite.alliancedefensefund.org/userdocs/TN2010SchoolDistrictChristmasLetterADF.pdf

Another good article on rights of students: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/1999/08/02/associations-right-in-schools 



Posted December 12, 2011 by Debbie Pelley