A schoolboy has been banned from giving out Valentine’s Day cards after he included a famous Bible verse, an American religious liberty organisation has said.
The boy and his parents prepared cards with John 3:16 and a message telling pupils how much God loves them.
The headteacher, however, banned the cards from being distributed, claiming the note sought to establish religious “supremacy”.
The issue has been taken up by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and it is suing the school district.
Matt Sharp, a lawyer for ADF, said: “Public schools ought to encourage, not suppress, the free exchange of ideas, including those communicated through Valentine’s Day cards.
“A Bible verse and a reference to God does not make such a card unconstitutional”.
Donald and Ellen Abramo, who are Roman Catholics, helped their primary school-aged son with the note for Valentine’s Day – which the school calls ‘Friendship Day’.
According to the lawsuit, the boy’s teacher “became concerned about the religious message” of the cards and took them to the headteacher.
The school leader then decided that, because of their religious nature, the boy would not be allowed to give them out.
At a meeting with the Abramos, the principal said that the boy’s note sought to “establish the supremacy” of his faith over others.
The school district’s lawyer also “claimed that the Constitution prohibits a person from imposing their religious beliefs on someone else; therefore, the school district can restrict a student from distributing religious materials”, the ADF lawsuit says.
The school was allegedly so hostile to religion that the Abramos’ son was scared to pray at mealtimes, Fox News reported.
Other Friendship Day cards are said to have included images of skeletons and guns.
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania school district declined to comment to a local newspaper about the issue.