Horice Hymes asked his 7-year-old daughter an innocent question about what she learned in school on Monday. He found her answer horrifying.
“She told me, ‘I learned that the white on the candy cane stands for Jesus, because he was white'” Hymes said, “and the red on the candy cane was for the blood that he shed, and if you flip it upside down, the ‘J’ stands for Jesus.”
Hymes’ daughter was a first-grader at DeBary Elementary School, but he and his wife have since pulled her from the school, outraged that religion was even part of the curriculum, much less teaching their child, who is African-American, that Jesus was white.
Nancy Wait, with the Volusia County School District, said the lesson was part of a “Holidays Around the World” lesson, but a substitute teacher in Hymes’ daughter’s class used a certain book, which wasn’t supposed to be used, to teach a religious representation of the candy cane.
“This book was very religious in content and should not have been used,” said Wait. “Religion is not part of the public school system. So, that was done in error.”
Wait said the “Holidays Around the World” lessons will continue to be taught in Volusia County schools. However, the candy cane lesson is out, along with the book used for that lesson.
Hymes, though, said it’s too late.
“The damage is done, because now’s she’s questioning what we are teaching her,” he said.
Hymes said his family is talking to a lawyer and considering civil litigation for teaching their child a Christmas lesson that they feel confused her more than anything else.