In a Houston elementary school recently, a parent reported that their child’s teacher confiscated her Bible during “read to myself” time in her class.
The parents and child understood this time to be a time when she could read whatever she wanted to read. She chose the Bible.
Once questions began, the district’s response came in defense of the teacher, explaining that “read to myself” time, which is independent reading, requires the books be “just right” for a child’s age. Certainly age-appropriate materials are important for children. But who decides what is “just right” for each child?
What if the child’s family reads together and in that 2nd grader’s 7 years she has been learning from and reading from that book regularly? Did the teacher ask the child what she was reading? What version of the Bible was it? Was it a child’s edition? Did she ask her to read a sentence or two to make sure she was able to handle the words? I hope so.
From news reports it can often be difficult to decipher all the details. But I would certainly hope it wasn’t as simple as the teacher seeing the Bible and immediately deciding, just based on the book, that it wasn’t age appropriate. Most of the teachers I know would not do that.
If in fact this account is true, the parents did the right thing calling attention to it. Children are permitted to bring Bibles on campus and READ Bibles on campus. That’s a 1st Amendment right. And those of you who start spouting “separation of church and state” need to re-read the U.S. Constitution. It is the law of the land, and if you don’t know your rights, well, then, you won’t know how to stand up for them. I’ll save you a little time here, but feel free to read the rest later.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In NO WAY can a 2nd grader reading her Bible to herself in the classroom be confused with Congress making a law. Notice what the Constitutional Amendment says, very clearly, “Congress shall make NO LAW”. No violation. Except that the TEACHER apparently violated the child’s rights.
Stand up for your rights, folks. It may not be easy, but if YOU don’t do it, who will?
Photo credit via Flickr Global Orphan Project