Calif. family hires lawyer after school won't let son sing song about God

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - The family of a California kindergartner says their son's choice to sing a song about God at his school's talent show was rejected, which left him devastated.

Six-year-old Austin Stroberg had been practicing hard and planning to perform the song "Our God Is Mercy" at his school's talent show.

Following his audition at Salt Creek Elementary School in Chula Vista, Austin's mom, Amanda Stroberg, said she was told he would not be allowed to be in the talent show if he was "going to sing that song."

Then she received an email stating: "The judges really liked him and are agreeing to have him in the show so long as it's a non-religious song. Star-Spangled Banner or any other song that is non-religious."

Needless to say, that did not sit well.

"We wanted to know what are his rights as a student," Stroberg said.

Stroberg decided to contact the Pacific Justice Institute.

Shortly after an attorney sent a letter to the principal on Austin's behalf, the minds of the administration at Salt Creek Elementary School quickly changed and Austin was added to the list of this year's talent show performers.

"We were extremely pleased, we're glad the district was so quick to respond," said Stroberg.

The four-page letter to Austin's principal stated in part, "The fact that the school allows students to sing Jewish songs and Kwanza songs during holiday celebrations, but refuses to allow this Christian song during the talent show may be a violation of equal protection under the law."

10News Reporter Preston Phillips spoke to Stroberg about the situation and how the family decided to reach out to an attorney to try and resolve the issue.

"Unfortunately, but it seems like a sign of the times," said Stroberg.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District said Austin's parents went too far and could have simply gone to the district with their complaint instead of contacting an attorney.

"They simply could have contacted the district office with their concern, really doesn't take an attorney to resolve things amicably," said Anthony Millican, spokesman for Chula Vista Elementary School District.

The school district says they do not endorse or support Austin's song choice. 

Austin's parents and the district say they are pleased the issue has been resolved.

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