Just last week I shared with you what happened to a 5 year old girl who bowed her head to pray at lunchtime. A teacher told the girl that she was not allowed to pray. The girl told the teacher that it’s good pray and the teacher responded ‘no, it’s not good.’ Of course none of the teachers admitted to the incident figuring it’s their word against that of a 5 year old, but the principal took the matter seriously and properly instructed all faculty members that they are not allowed to infringed on the religious rights of students.
Less than a week later, another student is chastised and threatened over exercising his constitutional and religious rights.
This time, a boy was participating in a REACH afterschool program in Cannon County, Tennessee. The boy allegedly pulled out his Bible to read when one of the instructors of the REACH program told him he wasn’t allowed to. One report stated:
“On March 20, staff at Tennessee’s Cannon County REACH after-school program reportedly told a student he was not allowed to read his Bible at school. If they let him read the Bible on school property, staff allegedly told the boy’s mother, they ran the risk of being shut down by the state.”
The boy’s mother contacted, of all people, the ACLU. But to my surprise, they came to the defense of the boy, saying:
“…the case a clear misunderstanding of what the First Amendment of the Constitution really says about religious freedom.”
Thomas H. Castelli, Legal Director for ACLU-TN, sent a letter to REACH officials informing them that schools are not ‘religion-free zones.’ The letter stated in part:
“The First Amendment exists to protect religious freedom. While this means that schools may not impose or promote religion, it also means that students can engage in religious activities that they initiate, provided they do not cause a disruption or interfere with the education of other students.”
It’s ironic that groups like the ACLU have scared schools and anyone associated with schools with all of the lawsuits they’ve filed over the years for against schools for violating the supposed establishment clause. Now, the ACLU admits many schools so fear these lawsuits, that they frequently violate students’ Frist Amendment rights. So for years they threatened to schools and now they are having to defend students who are the victims of that fear that they instilled.