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Published On: Thu, Jan 8th, 2015

Missouri student, Loyal Grandstaff, told he can’t read Bible in school during free time

A 12-year-old Missouri student claims he was told to put away his Bible when he began reading it during classroom free time.

Bueker Middle School seventh grader Loyal Grandstaff got out his Bible to read and was told to put it away by his teacher.

Grandstaff said the teacher told him that he “doesn’t want me reading it in his class because he don’t believe it.”
“I was just reading because I had free time. A time to do what I wanted to, so I just broke it out and read,” Grandstaff told WDAF-TV.
Reading the Bible in school got one student in trouble  photo Imagens Evangélicas via Flickr

Reading the Bible in school got one student in trouble
photo Imagens Evangélicas via Flickr

The student’s father, Justin Grandstaff said, “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. I feel like it violated his freedom of religion but also his freedom of speech.”

Bueker Middle School Principal Lance Tobin called the incident a “misunderstanding.”
“Bibles are not banned from school,” Tobin told Yahoo Parenting.
Mark Goldfeder, Emory Law School senior lecturer and Law and Religion Students Program director, says he would hope it turned out to be a misunderstanding. Otherwise, he tells Yahoo Parenting in an email, “This is really an open and shut case.”

“That’s because a 1969 Supreme Court case established that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate,” Goldfeder explains, noting, “the court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment requires public school officials to be neutral in their treatment of religion, showing neither favoritism toward nor hostility.” So while public-school officials are forbidden from directing prayer, there’s nothing stopping a student from voluntarily praying at any time — and the same holds true for reading the good book.

“Simply put,” he says, “students have an absolute legal right to read their Bibles during free time.”

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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