Public school teachers across America are cracking down this month on kids who read the Bible during “read to myself” time or carry a personal copy of the canonical collection of sacred texts through school hallways.
On Tuesday, the family of a second-grade student at Hamilton Elementary School in the Houston suburb of Cypress claimed that the girl’s teacher took her Bible away during “read to myself” time.
Instead of complaining to school officials, the family, which wishes to remain anonymous, took its complaint to the Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian advocacy outfit, Houston-area CBS affiliate KHOU reports.
Michael Berry, one of the attorneys representing the family, noted that the actual incident occurred a couple weeks ago. He also noted that the Hamilton Elementary library includes copies of the Bible.
“So if it’s appropriate for their own library, why on earth would it not be appropriate for their own students?” Berry asked, according to KHOU.
Local parents were split on whether the teacher reacted appropriately when she allegedly swiped a little kid’s Bible during independent reading time.
“They are letting them read the Hunger Games,” parent Jennifer Muse told KHOU. “That’s kids killing kids. Why can’t she read the Bible?”
Another parent sided with the teacher, saying of the Bible that “there should be a definite separation.”
Meanwhile, a school district representative said students are supposed to find a “just right” book “read to myself” time. “Just right” means appropriate in terms of reading level as well as the very vague concept of genre. Apparently, the district has suggested, the teacher didn’t find the Bible “just right” for the second-grade girl.
The district has since affirmatively acknowledged to the Liberty Institute that, as a general principle, students are, in fact, permitted to read their own Bibles in school.
Meanwhile, in the small Missouri town of Potosi, the mother of a high school student went to local CBS affiliate KMOV last week to complain that a teacher had yelled at her daughter for carrying a Bible around Potosi High School.
The mad mom, Angela English, said the unidentified teacher verbally chastised her daughter, Kiela, for having the temerity to discuss her religious beliefs with a classmate—apparently outside any actual classroom.
In response to the affront, English set up a protest among religious students.
“We’ve asked the children to bring the Bibles and carry it, not preach and shove religion in their face but to show they have the right to carry the Bible,” she told KMOV.