A public school teacher recently posted a video of her first-grade students reciting a “daily Bible verse” that she taught them, writing in the caption, “Start your day with a good Bible verse and life just seems better!!”
The teacher, Susan Schobel of Brown Primary School in Smithville, Texas, deleted the video soon after it was posted, but that didn’t stop parents from saving copies, including one that was provided to me via email.
The video shows the children reciting a variation on Romans 12:9-10 in a rehearsed manner with learned hand motions. The verse basically says, “hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.” It’s a decent verse cherry-picked out of many bad ones, but that doesn’t change the fact that a public school teacher preaching the Gospel to her students is illegal.
Some parents who were made aware of the problem are now speaking out.
“This is not okay,” wrote Ashley Nicole, who has a child at Brown Primary, in a letter to the school district. “I am truly shocked. I am concerned about how this is getting handled.”
She’s right to be upset, just as many Christian parents might be concerned if another teacher decided to share verses from the Qur’an with their kids. To make matters worse, calling it a “daily Bible verse,” as Schobel did on Facebook, implies that this happens quite regularly.
To make matters even worse than that, Schobel actually doubled down on her ridiculous behavior in a follow-up comment in which she bragged, “Girl I’m a rule breaker!!”
Girl I’m a rule breaker!! I decided if I get fired for teaching my children about Jesus then I’m getting fired for a great reason!!:)
Schobel knew what she was doing broke the rules, yet she continued to do it (and even publicized it).
The fact that she deleted her posts and comments a few days later suggests she thought she could get away with it… until she couldn’t.
Still, there’s backlash to the backlash. According to Charlie Lucko, a local parent who is part of a non-profit organization that handles recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, some evangelicals who don’t care about separating church and state have now threatened to boycott businesses linked to Schobel’s critics.
He told me via Facebook:
We are funded by a non-profit cafe in this town that has now been boycotted by many local residents because we have spoken out on this issue.
Lucko also provided a screenshot to confirm that:
It’s not clear if the school will take any action against the teacher, but it is obvious that parents aren’t willing to just shut up about this one. If the school does nothing, the next step could occur in court.