A school in Illinois has reversed its decision to ban a second-grade girl from reading her Bible during recess.
According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Gabrielle liked to bring her Bible to school and read during recess. Sometimes she would read the Scriptures aloud while her peers listened in, and then they would discuss specific passages together.
But one day a teacher approached Gabrielle, confiscated her Bible and told her, “You can’t be doing that.”
The school then contacted Gabrielle’s parents and told them their daughter could no longer read her Bible during recess.
Gabrielle’s parents decided to push back against the school’s unconstitutional restriction. And the school agreed to compromise—a bit.
The school said Gabrielle could read her Bible during outside recess but not during inside recess. Gabrielle’s parents still felt that the school’s stipulation encroached on their daughter’s religious freedom.
“It was a simple case of public school officials’ hypersensitivity to the specter of a threat from the [American Civil Liberties Union] or some similar spreader of long-debunked propaganda about ‘separation of Church and State,’” said Francis J. Manion, senior counsel with the ACLJ.
After being contacted by Gabrielle’s parents, the ACLJ sent a letter to the school, highlighting specific cases throughout history where students were permitted to express their views on religion—unless the school believed the measure could “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”
Manion explained that the purpose of the letter was to give the school the benefit of the doubt.
“No threats. No demands. Just an amicable attempt to educate the educators,” he said.
Given that the school had verified that no student or parent had lodged a complaint about Gabrielle’s Bible-reading, the ACLJ argued that there was “no reason to crack down on a second grader’s reading of her Bible on the playground or in the classroom during recess.”
After reviewing the letter, the school removed all restrictions on Gabrielle’s reading of her Bible and even thanked the ACLJ for its insights and education on the matter.
CBN News called the school’s reversal a “win for religious liberty.”