The middle school English teacher who is taking heat for the controversial display he erected among the Christmas tree, nativity scene and menorah in a Boca Raton park, inspired a handful of parents of students not in his class to tote signs demanding he be fired from his job.
Preston Smith said he intended to shine the light on religious hypocrisy and exercise his freedom of speech. The display he built sports a pentagram, references both Satan and the solstice.
His boss, the superintendent, has said there’s no evidence that Smith’s extracurricular activities or ideas on religion come into his classroom.
And this week at least one person took to a semi-private online forum in the man’s support. The post appeared on Nextdoor.com and was spotted by a Palm Beach Post reporter.
The Post has reached out to the author and has not yet heard back. But this is what the self-described parent of a former Boca Raton Middle School student had to say:
When my son attended Boca Middle several years ago, Mr. Smith coached the boys soccer and track & field teams. He was somewhat avant garde, but a very kind and fair person. (Son) didn’t have him as a teacher, but I know that, at that time, Mr. Smith taught at-risk kids – the ones most people are running away from. Later, right before my daughter graduated, they had him working with the students who severe emotional issues. As one teacher told me, “The kids who are banging their heads on the desk and throwing chairs. The kids who have to wear diapers.”
As you can imagine this is very mentally, physically, and emotionally draining work. I remember thinking that, truly, one would have to be a saint to do this. If this isn’t Christ-like, I don’t know what is. There are many people who go to church every Sunday and consider themselves faithful, but never lift a hand to help anyone else. I think it is better to quietly and without fanfare do God’s work every day. To let Christ live in our hearts, and to set an example by doing good deeds just because the world needs it, not because anyone is watching.
Christmas is the season of giving to those less fortunate, and being grateful for the blessings that you have. It’s really not about the lights at Sanborn Square or anywhere else – as much as I love them. Please take your anger and channel it into the positive. There are any number of worthwhile charities in this city that desperately need volunteers and donations. This is what Christ would want you to do.