Close this search box.

FL Teacher Bans Bible Reading From ‘Free Reading Time’ in Classroom

hGiovanni Rubeo is a fifth-grade student at the school, who had been given a Bible at church as a gift. It’s his favorite book, so he decided he’d like to read it during the time in class where students are allowed to read anything they choose.

Swornia Thomas is Giovanni’s teacher. On April 8, Thomas told Giovanni he’s not allowed to read the Bible in her class and ordered him to put it away. Giovanni asked her to call his father, Paul Rubeo, about the incident.
Thomas did so, leaving a voicemail that included, “I noticed that he [Giovanni] has a book—a religious book—in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.


”Rubeo then contacted the school’s principal, Orinthia Dias, who brought in the school’s legal department. None of them are willing to acknowledge that Giovanni has a constitutional right to read the Bible.

So Rubeo retained Liberty Institute to assert Giovanni’s First Amendment rights. Liberty Institute has now sent a demand letter to Broward County Public Schools and is holding a public event this afternoon at the federal courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“Banning religious books like the Bible violates Giovanni’s civil rights to religious free speech and free exercise,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute Director of Litigation. “The school’s actions exemplify the hostility to religion that the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned.”
“We expect Broward County Public School officials to resolve this unfortunate incident quickly and amicably,” says Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. “Absent such an apology and assurance that students in Broward County Public Schools may read religious books like the Bible during free reading times, our client is prepared to take legal action.”


5 Responses

  1. Unless they have a secular rule that applies (e.g. no translations, no works from before 1800, etc.), the school district will lose in court.

  2. What does the boy want to read, about the story of ben sorer, about Omoh Ivriyu, about the Mekoshesh that got Sekulah, About a Kohen with a permanent wound not allowed to practice, about L’oilom Bo’hem Tavoidu.
    Bikitzur, Its not for children.

  3. #2 – That for the parents to decide, not the government. If the school allows any sort of book with no restrictions, other than that it not be the Bible, that’s illegal discrimination. If they have a rule, it should apply equally to secualists as well as to people of faith.

  4. #2,
    He wants to read about visiting the sick,
    Caring for the poor,
    Paying fair wages,
    Not attacking women,Respecing ones parents and elders.
    Knowing the world has a creator, who will bring justice and fairness to those who crave protection.
    About compassion for the widow, and about service to Hashem who knows our spark of goodness, and potential for greatness.
    Its all there, go read a bit.

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts