Straight Up with Sherri

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Bibles Banned on Playgrounds
Legal group challenges restriction on student activity during recess

An elementary school principal who barred students from reading the Bible during recess after a complaint from parents is violating the Constitution, according to a public-interest law firm challenging his actions.

In a letter to the Knox County School District in Tennesee, the Alliance Defense Fund declared the principal of Karns Elementary School is on "shaky constitutional ground."

"The Constitution does not prohibit Bibles during recess; it prohibits the wholesale banning of Bibles during recess," said Charles Pope, the ADF-allied attorney who wrote the letter to the district.

"A school official cannot tell a student that he can't bring his Bible to school or study it with friends during non-classroom time," Pope stated.

According to ADF, 10-year-old student Luke Whitson used his regularly scheduled recess time to read the Bible with a few friends on his school's playground. After receiving a complaint from a parent, the principal reportedly ordered the students to stop their activity, put their Bibles away and cease from bringing them to school.

"There are no 'age discrimination' allowances in the First Amendment of the Constitution," said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco. "The law protects these students the same as it protects all students."

Infranco said children "have rights of speech and association during their non-instructional time, and the school may not curtail those rights because of their age."

Whitson's parents sought legal assistance from Pope, who contends "the law as it pertains to this situation is well settled."

"Students may have religious discussions and Bible study during non-instructional time," he explained in his letter. "The school district should immediately issue a statement addressing the unconstitutional actions and policy and alerting all personnel to permit Luke and other similarly situated students to exercise their constitutional rights."

This is SAD! Let's think this through, just for a minute. What happened here? Parents COMPLAINED to the PRINCIPAL of an elementary school about a child reading the Bible on the palyground during recess. What the heck? Are you kidding me? THIS is the type of thing that bothers people enough to take time out of your day? If you spend ANY part of your day (as an adult), to go complain to another adult, about a child READING during RECESS- YOU NEED HELP! YOU NEED SOMETHING TO DO IN YOUR LIFE! YOU NEED TO GET INVOLVED WITH COMMUNITY SERVICE or SOMETHING!

It gets PATHETICALLY worse when a principal doesn't look at these complaining parents and say (while pulling out a map to remind them where they live), "Did you not see the AMERICAN FLAG flying outside?" It is obvious that the PRINCIPAL doesn't know or understand the CONSTITUTION! I mean there are only two options here. Either the Principal has NO CLUE what the Constitution says, and its PURPOSE (to protect the PEOPLE form TYRANNY); or the Principal feels compelled to IGNORE the Constitution in order to acheive his/her own political agenda. Could you imagine the uproar if Luke were banned from reading the Koran?



  • CT #1824
    Please..... give me a break!!! How far are people going to take the seperation from state and church? This is pathetic. These children are doing nothing wrong, and should not be punished.
    This reminds me of the situation over the Darwinism stickers on the inside cover of science books, in one school district. People rallied to have the stickers that stated that Darwinism is a theory removed from the books. My biggest complaint is that Darwinism is a theory.....why not leave the stickers. Well, people said that it brought religion into the school systems. So let me get this right....the school system can teach Christian students Darwinism...which completely underhands their religion...but it is not ok to simply state that it is what it is....A THEORY.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:09 PM  

  • How far are people going to take the seperation from state and church?
    Lets follow it to a T.
    good call I think.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:02 PM  

  • Parents COMPLAINED to the PRINCIPAL of an elementary school about a child reading the Bible on the palyground during recess. What the heck? Are you kidding me? THIS is the type of thing that bothers people enough to take time out of your day? If you spend ANY part of your day (as an adult), to go complain to another adult, about a child READING during RECESS- YOU NEED HELP!
    And here you are spend countless hours a day bit**ing about the same kinda stuff. Sounds funny huh. pot calling the kettle black i think.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:07 PM  

  • FWIW -- My father in 3rd grade in staunchly-Mormon Utah (about 80 years ago) was forbidden from reading his Bible, which he hid beneath his desk and read during the boring part of class. When I was in third grade (45 years ago), I was forbidden from reading a trashy (worthless, but non-sexy) novel beneath my desk for the same reasons. IMHO, kids should sneak books into class (Bible or trash) ; but recess should be spent in big-motor muscle activities.

    By Blogger levi from queens, at 12:43 AM  

  • levi,
    recess should be spent in big-motor muscle activities.

    Like dodgeball, red-rover, and mumbly peg. That's what we did when we were in 3rd grade! But those activities have all been banned. Maybe the kids today can just sit placidly in a drug-induced stupor on a bench and blow up condoms?

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 10:09 AM  

  • When I was in school, we sat on the ground and made necklaces from clover flowers.

    Give me a break--teachers acting like they want them to exercise? That's what P.E. is for--but notice how P.E. is being wiped out in many schools.

    Recess is just what the name says--a recess--

    The real question is this: are there other kids that read comics, books, or study for a test during recess?

    If so--it is religious discrimination. Just another example of how the commie-libs at the NEA have hijacked the schools.

    By Anonymous t., at 1:42 PM  

  • I remember a time when I was in Second Grade. I fell asleep in class just before recess (I don't recall the subject). Normally, Sister Mary Disciplinarian would just whack me with her behavior stick. But for some reason, she just let me sleep through recess - that must have taken some effort to get the rest of the class to sneak out without waking me.
    They woke me when recess was over - that's a lesson I will never forget.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 3:37 PM  

  • MH7086

    Ridiculous! If my kid wants to read the Bible at recess, he is going to get to do so. I say any child should be able to read any religious information that they want during recess as long as it isn't preached and pushed onto other kids. I would rather them read the Bible than some of the other stuff they could be doing at recess like kissing, or worse. It seems to me like the school doesn't know when to keep out of things that really aren't their concern. If another parent had a problem with it then they should just tell their kid to stay away from anyone reading the Bible-even though the kid could probably learn something. You know the kid was probably curious and yearning for knowledge which is why the parent is upset in the first place. My son's preschool is Christian based and they have many other religious students of other denominations attend. My son learns of other races and religions and I am glad. It makes him aware of the world around him because it is diverse. We don't live in a bubble.

    By Anonymous MH7086, at 8:14 AM  

  • There is nothing wrong with children reading the bible with their friends. As a matter of fact, shouldn't we be encouraging this. I can think of worse things that they could be reading. Our government amazes promotes war and violence, but discourages religion. What a shame. How about banning those violent video games?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:39 PM  

  • vem2793

    If our parents spent more time teaching their kids God's laws we would not have such ridiculous wastes of energy and time which could be better spent preventing crime in school or the most egregious crime of having no books in school.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:07 PM  

  • TB9131
    I think this is just ridiculous. How can we tell children what not to read while on their recess time. I can understand if this child was encouraging other students who are non belivers to join in with him in reading the bible, but that's not the case. I am livid that once again we are still trying to get religion out of our schools completely. What this child reads on his own free time is his business (well as long as it is appropriate). I applaud the parents of this child in rearing their son to not be afraid of what others may think and for being open about his beliefs at an early age. We as a society need to get a grip and worry about the things in this world that are much more important.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 PM  

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