Last week, school officials in Illinois reversed their decision to ban a second-grade girl from bringing her Bible to school.
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a conservative law firm focusing on the issues of religious freedom, explained that they were contacted by the girl’s parents after her Bible was taken away during recess.
The girl, whose name is Gabrielle, likes to bring her Bible to school and would sometimes read it aloud during recess. Other kids would often listen and discuss what she was reading with her.
But recently, despite there being no complaints from her fellow students or their parents, a teacher confiscated the Bible from Gabrielle, telling her, “You can’t be doing that.” The school later contacted the little girl’s parents and told them Gabrielle was not allowed to read her Bible during recess.
In response, the parents reached out to ACLJ, which sent a letter to the school citing several cases throughout history where students’ religious beliefs were allowed unless the school believed that the speech or expression could “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”
The law firm contended that in Gabrielle’s case, “there wasn’t even a hint of disruption of the work and discipline of the school – not even a complaint – there was no reason to crack down on a second grader’s reading of her Bible on the playground or in the classroom during recess.”
After reviewing the letter, the school thanked ACLJ for the input and pulled back its restrictions on Gabrielle’s Bible reading.
ACLJ, which was founded in 1990, has a petition on its website with over 95,000 signatures in defense of student’s religious liberty at school.
“Religious liberty is the cornerstone of America, and our children are its future,” the petition reads in part. “The Bible, prayer, Christian faith – it’s all under attack in our public schools. We won’t tolerate it.”