Lynn Gardner

The story went like this: A teacher at Seattle Public Schools insisted that Easter eggs in a third-grade class be given the nonreligious (and geometrically inaccurate) name "spring spheres." Predictably, that summoned the wrath of Christians, who deluged the district with complaints this month, such as one e-mail that read, "Do you love killing the values of parents for their kids?"

"It's a good story," says Stephanie Klein, an editor for the KIRO affiliated, who wrote an article based on a KIRO radio story about the "spring spheres" that went internationally viral.

And it is a great story—if it's true.

But there's one problem: "We haven't been able to verify that it happened," says Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Teresa Wippel. The school district (which says "no religious belief or nonbelief should be promoted" by its employees) contacted all 88 schools in Seattle, asking if any employee could confirm or deny the "spring spheres." "Generally when we put out some question, we usually do get some kind of confirmation from people," Wippel says. "But it has been silence so far."

The story originated on-air with KIRO FM's Dori Monson, a right-wing talk radio host. A 16-year-old classroom volunteer named Jessica told Monson that the teacher insisted she call plastic eggs "spring spheres" and "I couldn't call them Easter eggs." But curiously, she never provided her last name, identified the school involved, or named the teacher. Klein said the girl's father had first contacted Monson with the story, and the girl identified the school "off the record" but "she just didn't want to make it public." Asked if there was any way to verify the story, Klein said I should e-mail Monson, who didn't reply to a request for comment. recommended