We recently assisted a mother and her daughter in Tucson, Arizona, who requested our assistance when the daughter was told that she could no longer bring her Bible to school. The daughter had been bringing her Bible to school to read and to discuss with other students during her free time. Some students reported her to the teacher, who then spoke to the dean of students. Consequently, the daughter was told that she could no longer bring her Bible to school.
When the mother contacted us for help, we provided information about the relevant legal principles regarding students’ constitutional rights. The law is clear that schools cannot prevent students from bringing their Bibles to school and must, in fact, allow students to read their Bibles during free time, even if that free time occurs in the classroom.
Any restriction that limits a student’s ability to bring their Bible to school, to read it during noninstructional time, and to pray and discuss matters of religion with other students is a violation of their First Amendment rights.
The mother reviewed the information provided and gained an understanding of the relevant legal principles. After reviewing the material, she spoke with the school principal, who agreed that the daughter should be allowed to bring her Bible to school.
We received an email from the mother, informing us that the principal spoke with the teacher to ensure that the teacher understood the daughter’s rights. She also added, “The matter was resolved very quickly. Thank you again for your help.”
We are pleased that we were able to assist this mother and daughter, and are committed to helping protect religious liberty in our communities when it is threatened.
CeCe Heil is senior counsel for the ACLJ, specializing in public policy and global legal matters, including the United Nations.
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