The American Humanist Association has filed a complaint with the Birdville, Texas Public School District after a gay student, Isaiah Smith, was suspended for three days for tearing out pages of his Bible that oppose homosexuality.
“At my high school, some kids like to say that being gay is a sin and that you can’t be gay and Christian,” Smith told the Star-Telegram. “I wanted to bring my Bible to school and interpret the books of Leviticus and Romans, because they are often used to bully gay people.”
Smith claims that his classmates openly taunted him during a Spanish class in front of a substitute teacher last Tuesday. That's when he opened his Bible and tore out some pages that prohibit homosexuality.
The gay student was sent to the principal's office where Vice Principal Glenn Serviente allegedly told him that he could not rip his own Bible apart in class.
Smith said he carried his ripped Bible on Tuesday, but was disciplined by Serviente, on Wednesday, who reportedly confiscated the torn book.
The gay senior showed the school's discipline statement to the Star-Telegram, which mentioned “distraction and disruption in class by tearing up Bible in class.”
“This is a clear violation of Isaiah’s First Amendment rights,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the American Humanist Association, said in a press release. “The only explanation for this kind of punishment is that it was religiously motivated, because he expressed different beliefs on the Bible than those held by school officials. There’s no legal basis for that kind of reaction.”
The American Humanist Association is calling for the Birdville High School to delete the suspension from Smith’s record and clarify its policy about carrying Bibles.