Saturday, April 20, 2024

School Faces Lawsuit for Punishing 1st-Grader Who Wrote ‘Any Life’ Matters

'I am trying to raise them the way the world should be, not the way it is. That’s how I’m trying to make my personal change...'

(Preston Parra, Headline USA) A California parent is fighting back after a school punished her first-grade daughter for a drawing that said “any life” matters in an art project that reference the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter.

Chelsea Boyle, whose daughter attended Viejo Elementary School in Mission Viejo, was incensed when she finally discovered a year later that her daughter had been punished and publicly shamed for the illustration, reported Red State.

“My immediate reaction is just … ‘I feel like I got hit by a bus,’ but I didn’t understand it,” Boyle said.

“And I thought, ‘Oh, you know, my daughter has just been discriminated against,'” she continued. “And I didn’t even want to contact a lawyer, but I just didn’t know what had happened to us.”

Boyle’s daughter, referred to as “Jane” for the purpose of anonymity, allegedly drew the picture and gave it to a friend who is black.

The friend showed it to her parents, who immediately demanded the principal take action against it. The principal confronted “Jane” and forced to apologize publically to her friend. She also was forced to sit out during recess and was prohibited from drawing any more pictures for her friends while at school.

Boyle said that she was even more disturbed that she wasn’t made aware of the circumstances surrounding the issue whatsoever and only heard about it in March—a year after the fact—through a mutual friend.

She said that she had never spoken with her daughter about BLM because she believes her “children are too young” to grasp the complex—and often acrimonious—subject matter of identity politics.

“My children see color as a color, as a description,” she said. “I am trying to raise them the way the world should be, not the way it is. That’s how I’m trying to make my personal change.”

Boyle added that her daughter didn’t do anything to instigate trouble and that the “any life” phrasing was something she had come up with on her own, devoid of any political biases.

“She just didn’t understand it,” Boyle said. “It was completely innocent, and that broke my heart.”

The 7-year-old, once an avid artist, had stopped drawing pictures after the episode, Boyle  said.

Reluctant to hire a lawyer, Boyle initially attempted to have her issue heard by the school board, following the chain of command outlined by the county website; however, she was told that there was no possible redress for her grievances.

Without any other options left, she consulted an attorney from the Gavel Project, an Arizona-based nonprofit focused on representing victims of government overreach.

Alexander Haberbush, who now represents Boyle and her daughter, said in a statement that the First Amendment implications were clear.

“It’s a compelled speech issue,” Haberbush noted. “… We believe that there is no way that they can meet that standard and we believe this is an egregious deprivation of her rights and that Chelsea should be vindicated.”

He said the issue for the Boyles is not so much about cashing in on their daughter’s situation but making clear to the school system that they were in violation of a her constitutionally protected free-speech rights.

“Primarily what we want is a judicial determination and recognition that wrongdoing occurred, so that it won’t happen again because nobody should have to go through this.”

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