A Child Wants to Read the Bible in Class. School Officials Say That’s Fine. So Why the Lawsuit Threat? November 13, 2014

A Child Wants to Read the Bible in Class. School Officials Say That’s Fine. So Why the Lawsuit Threat?

I never understand why parents or grandparents (or their lawyers) run to the media the very moment they think they’re being oppressed by a school administrator when a simple phone call would probably clear everything up.

At La Costa Heights Elementary School in Carlsbad, California, Craig and Lori Nordal, the grandparents of a fourth grade special needs student, are angry because they say school officials oppose the child’s religious freedom during reading time:

The Nordals said they would like Noah to be able to bring his Bible for the half hour period of reading, but two district officials told them the book would not be allowed because it is religious, according to Dean Broyles, an attorney with the conservative Christian nonprofit firm the National Center for Law and Policy.

That sounds… crazy. If students are given time to read any book of their choice, the Bible can’t be off the table as an option. How could anyone say that?

Well, according to the superintendent, no one did:

“At no time did any of our staff deny the child the right to bring his bible to school and read it during free time reading,” [Encinitas Union School District Superintendent Timothy B. Baird] wrote in a statement.

Instead, Baird says the grandparents were asking the teacher to use the Bible as a main teaching tool, which the district told them they could not do because the book did not fall into the specific curricular tools used for Noah’s educational goals.

The lawyer for the Nordals says that’s not the case at all.

Given that this all took place after an in-person meeting with the teacher, it makes me want to scream, “THEN GO TALK TO EACH OTHER AGAIN INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING TO THE PRESS!”

Apparently, the child has brought his Bible to school since the meeting — and there’s been no problem whatsoever. So what exactly is the problem? I have no idea. But getting everything they want isn’t enough for the National Center for Law and Policy, so they’re still demanding an apology from the district… even though the district says there was never any problem with their requests in the first place:

The center says legal action will be taken unless the district sends out a formal apology to Noah and agrees to permit students to read religious books, including the Bible, during free reading times.

Again, they already permit students to do that. You don’t need a lawyer to make that happen. You don’t need an apology note when the district did nothing wrong. You don’t get to claim victory because you misinterpreted what was said in a meeting.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)


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