Boy Claims Teacher Won't Allow Him to Read Bible During 'Free Time'
Giovanni Rubeo, a fifth grader who attends Park Lakes Elementary School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., claims that his teacher Swornia Thomas told him that he wasn't allowed to read his Bible in class on April 8.
According to the Liberty Institute, which is representing the boy, Giovanni was told by Thomas to stop reading his Bible during "free reading time" and to “put it on my desk."
Giovanni asked Thomas to call his father, Paul Rubeo, about not being allowed to read the Bible.
Thomas called and left a message for Paul, which did not mention the Bible, but did say, "I noticed that he has a book, a religious book, in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom."
Breitbart.com reports that Paul called the school’s principal, Orinthia Dias, who contacted the Broward County Public Schools' legal department.
Paul then contacted the Liberty Institute, which is now threatening a lawsuit against the school for violating the First Amendment.
“This is the most shocking piece of evidence I’ve seen in the 12 years of religious liberty work that I’ve been doing,” Hiram Sasser, the Liberty Institute’s director of litigation, told Fox News.
Neither the teacher or Broward County Public School officials have made a public statement about the incident.
“We expect Broward County Public School officials to resolve this unfortunate incident quickly and amicably,” the Liberty Institute's Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys told Breitbart.com. “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.”