In our own backyard here in Broward County has arisen a disturbing story of a twelve year old boy (Giovanni Rubeo) getting in trouble with his teacher for having the audacity of reading the Bible to himself during free time, when the children were free to read whatever they wanted to.
But his teacher singled out the Bible (a Christmas gift Gio treasures) because it was allegedly inappropriate to read in the school. In her own words, it was “the book he’s reading as opposed to the curriculum for public school.” Again, this was during free time.
She had told Giovanni on previous occasions not to read the Bible, so she called the student’s father to berate him, leaving a message, saying, “He’s not permitted to read those [religious] books in my classroom. He said if I told him to put it away, you [the dad] said not to do that.”
The principal backed up the teacher, stating in a letter: “You child is permitted to read the Bible before school, after school and during lunch, in accordance to the law.”
Knowing that their son’s Constitutional rights were violated, the family has sought legal counsel from Liberty Institute, based in the Dallas area, which works around the country.
Jeremy Dys, attorney with Liberty Institute, told me in an email: “It seems that Broward County Schools is moving in the right direction in addressing this issue, but the Superintendent is yet to personally respond to the Rubeo family with his official regrets. The key question that we have asked and the schools have not yet answered is this: ‘Did this teacher do anything wrong when she tried to remove the Bible from Giovanni Rubeo on April 8, 2014?’ Until we have that answer, we cannot believe this situation to have been fully addressed."
Until the answer comes, Ft. Lauderdale Tea Party members picket in front of the school.
Could Gio have read the Koran then? Or Playboy? The Bible alone seems to be singled out now.
Some school officials out-ACLU the ACLU. They go beyond what the high court has ruled on the subject. I looked up the original case that dealt with the Bible and the public schools going back to 1963, Abingdon v. Schempp. What was the issue? Reading the Bible as a devotional.
In that case, which I think went too far in jettisoning our heritage, the Supreme Court ruled: “…no state law or school board may require that passages from the Bible be read….” They struck down “state action requiring that schools begin each day with readings from the Bible.”