POTOSI, Mo. – A Missouri school district and high school principal have affirmed a student’s right to bring her Bible to school and discuss religion with friends after a teacher allegedly forbid her from doing so.
Angela English told reporters this week that her 15-year-old daughter Kiela called her on Wednesday, explaining that as she discussed a Bible passage with a friend in the hallway, she was confronted by a teacher who issued her a warning.
“Her friend had her Bible out and both of them were reading a passage in their heads and were talking back-and-forth about the reading,” she told the Daily Journal. “A teacher called them over and told them that they had to put it away—that this wasn’t the place—that they can’t be pushing their religion on people.”
But English said that her daughter was not “pushing religion” as she was only discussing Scripture privately with a friend.
“I was outraged,” she stated. “I can understand them saying something if she was preaching or if she were reading at an inappropriate time. But just for two girls simply walking down the hallway? That’s ridiculous. There’s so many other things they could be looking for, but they targeted two girls with their Bibles.”
English expressed her frustration on Facebook, and urged other students to take their Bibles to school the following day as a form of “protest” against the teacher’s actions.
“We’ve asked the children to bring the Bibles and carry it, not preach and shove religion in their face but to show they have the right to carry the Bible,” she told KMOV-TV.
On Thursday, Principal Shawn McCue contacted English and vowed to protect her daughter’s rights.
“He said he would speak to the teacher and that nobody could tell my daughter she couldn’t carry her Bible,” English explained. “He said if she had any other problems or anyone giving her any kind of grief about carrying her Bible then to go personally to him and he would handle it.”
School District Superintendent Randy Davis also issued a statement this week, confirming that all students have a right to carry a Bible at school. He stated that although he was disappointed that neither the district or the school was informed about the matter prior to the media report, an investigation will now be conducted into the situation.
“[W]e have absolutely no problem with our students bringing their Bible,” Davis wrote. “We firmly believe in freedom of religion and students practicing their religion, their faith. If all students wish to bring their Bible, read it and practice their faith, we would have no concern with that at all.”
“Now that we have talked to the student and the parent, we’ve taken the information and we’re going to investigate a little bit further,” he stated.