Religion

Texas Principal Embroiled In Religious Controversy

| by Tony Tran
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A high school principal in White Oak, Texas is under fire after he was recorded quoting a Bible verse while saying the morning announcements, according to the Longview News Journal

Principal Dan Noll was contacted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation -- an organization dedicated to state secularism -- after the group received the recording.

The Principal was originally recorded by a student who then sent the file to an atheist blogger.

"We are confident that an investigation will reveal that Mr. Noll's Bible readings have in fact taken place," said Sam Grover, the attorney for the Foundation, in a letter to the district. "If confirmed, the practice is flatly unconstitutional and cannot continue."

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Superintendent Michael Gilbert told reporters that he was well aware that Principal Noll quoted from the Bible during the announcements.

"Mr. Noll is fully protected by White Oak ISD," Gilbert told reporters. "We will be adjusting our daily thought for the day a little bit, but we still want to provide our students with a morally sound, positive character-based education."

Superintendent Gilbert was also quick to dismiss the Foundation's statement, calling it "an attempt to draw us into a contest of words."

"This group and others like it, are wanting us to provide them with negative quotes to use in the promotion of their agenda," he continued.

Grover believes that if the school district continues to conduct itself in such a manner, they may soon be facing a lawsuit.

"All it takes is one district community member willing to sue White Oak ISD, and a court will stop this religious promotion," he told reporters. "Federal courts have upheld the firing of teachers who refuse to respect their constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion."

The district has seen an outpouring of support from the people of White Oak since the controversy arose over the weekend, with many residents taking to social media to express their support for their principal.

White Oak parent Chris Siegley said: "I support Dan Noll both as a principal and as a Christian role model for the high school students. You would be hard pressed to find a more liked and respected man in this community. My oldest is a freshman. I just pray Coach Noll will be around when my fifth-grader enters high school."

Former White Oak High School student Tyler Martin, however, stated: "If the Scripture reading continues, then you must also recite from all religious doctrines, not just the one you all hold so dear. If your institution was private, then there would be no one able to question your actions, but for a public school to be reciting religious texts directly goes against the decision made by the Supreme Court."

Source: Longview News Journal Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons