Author brawls with school district over Halloween books
HAMMOND - A Christian author is fighting with the Tangipahoa Parish School District over what she claims to be a violation of her religious freedom.
Angela Bertone offered her children books for fundraising purposes but the district tossed them aside because of their Christian message and federal law preventing religion in public schools.
"They didn't want me to do a fundraiser because of the fact that it would promote a religion," Bertone said. "I felt I was being discriminated against."
The district sent a message to Bertone that it cannot allow students to sell religious books. The message also pointed out it does not ask children to sell a book about Halloween.
But Bertone claims the district does. She presented Scholastic book fliers that promote Halloween books.
Bertone feels Halloween is a religious observation.
"You can't pick and choose which religion is allowed," Bertone said. "That's my biggest concern."
Although now Halloween is more about candy, kids and party than actual worship, but Bertone still feels the two are comparable.
"You can't impose on me and say...oh we're not going to let you in because they quit practicing and you didn't," she said. "That doesn't make any sense."
"Why are we just going to sit back?" Tangipohoa School Board Member Sandra Bailey-Simmons asked.
She believes Bertone is getting unfairly pushed aside.
"Freedom of religion is all of it should be on the table bring them on or take them out. But be sure you take them all out or bring them all on," Bailey-Simmons asked.
The district could not be reached for comment.
The school board will discuss the issue at the November meeting.