A nationally known legal team is asking a government-owned facility in Michigan for a written apology to two residents of a senior center whose personal comments about Christmas were censored.
The letter from First Liberty Institute asks for the apology to Joan Wilson and Wilma Wells, residents of the Kalkaska Senior Living Center in Kalkaska, Michigan.
During the holiday season, the seniors read to children who visited from the related Kalkaska Memorial Health Center’s Child Development Center and Preschool’s Great Start Readiness Program.
The letter explains: “As part of this visit, the elderly residents of the Assisted Living Center were given opportunities to read Christmas stories to the students. One resident read Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ without incident. Wilma Wells, another resident of the Assisted Living Center, read a book about Christmas traditions, and after reading the book, asked the children if they knew why we celebrate Christmas.”
However, an unidentified teacher accompanying the students interjected, stating, “We won’t go there, Wilma.”
Then Wilson started reading “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” When, during the “much-beloved story, Linus gives a historical account of the Christmas story,” the teacher “abruptly interrupted Joan, canceled the visitation, and escorted the children out before Joan could finish.”
The letter also asks that the facility institute policies ensuring that its employees will abide by laws protecting the First Amendment rights of its senior residents.