MARSHALL, Mo. — A middle school student is Missouri states that he was told by one of his teachers last month that he wasn’t allowed to read his Bible during free class time.
Loyal Grandstaff, 12, is a seventh grade student at Bueker Middle School in Marshall, and last month, he found himself with some free time during one of his classes, so he took out his Bible and began to read it silently to himself.
“I was just reading,” he told local television station WDAF. “I was reading because I had free time. I had time to do what I wanted to, so I just broke it out and read. … I like to read my Bible because it’s a good book.”
But Grandstaff’s teacher, whose name has not yet been released, reportedly told the student that he could not read his Bible in class, even during free time.
“He doesn’t want me reading it in his class because he doesn’t believe in it,” Grandstaff said. “Because he feels like he’s shut down.”
The middle school student’s father said that he believe his son was wrongfully prohibited from reading the Bible in class just because it was a Bible.
“I feel like it violated his freedom of religion but also his freedom of speech,” Justin Grandstaff told reporters. “There’s kids walking around disrespecting their teachers, kids walking around cussing and everything else, and they’re practically getting into no trouble at all.”
Principal Lance Tobin has stated that he will look into the matter as Bibles are not banned on campus. He was to have spoken with Grandstaff’s father on Tuesday.
As previously reported, last January, a student from Michigan was likewise advised that he could not read his Bible during free time at school. Jessica Cross of Dearborn Heights told WJBK that her autistic son, Jason, would frequently take his Bible to Highview Elementary. But last year, school officials reprimanded Jason for bringing the Bible to school, telling him, “it’s only for church—not school.” Jason was then told not to bring his Bible to class anymore.
In April, officials at an elementary school in Texas launched an investigation after a teacher allegedly banned a second grader from reading the Bible during “Read to Myself” time. And in May, fifth grader Giovanni Rubeo, who attends Park Lakes Elementary School in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, said he was likewise prohibited from reading the Bible during his designated reading period. His teacher, Swornia Thomas, then called Rubeo’s father.
“Giovanni called you because I asked him to. I noticed that he has a book—a religious book—in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom,” a voicemail message from Thomas stated. “He said, if I told him to put it away—you said not to do that. So, please give me a call; I need to have some understanding on direction to him about the book he’s reading as opposed to the curriculum for public school.”