Should I sue my childs school for not allowing him to read his bible during “free time”?

My son is 8 yrs. old and very much into his church group so he reads his bible whenever he has free time.I myself am not a religous person however I feel my son has the right to read his bible as long as it is not disturbing others.His class gets 30 minutes a day for “free reading time” which means each…

You don’t need to go so far as a suit, although the school was clearly acting illegally.

If you contact your local ACLU they will have one of their lawyers write to the school educating them about what the First Amendment says about freedom of religion. If the school attempts to stand their ground, then the ACLU may well sue – but it’s unlikely to go that far. The law is crystal clear, and the school districts lawyers will tell them that if it gets that far.


I don’t understand what the problem is. If the child is reading quietly and is not disturbing anyone, there should not be a problem. It is “free” reading time after all. The boy should be allowed to read his bible if all the other children are also allowed to choose their own books. As an atheist, I can’t say that I like the idea of any child reading the bible, but legally speaking, he should have that right as long as his parent/parents are okay with it, and it sounds as if you are.

I don’t see it as disrespectful unless he is trying to convice others to join his church or too convince them of the legitability of the bible during class time. In my opinion, religious discussions are not proper during school as they can cause disruptions. At the same time, I just cannot see any 8 yr old doing that. So I don’t get what the teachers problem is with it. I doubt you could sue for the bible thing, but for the crying thing (emotional stress), perhaps, depending on what exactly she said or did. Personally, I would’ve chewed the teacher a new hole if that was my boy, but that’s just me.

I believe you have a legitimate case. Several constitutional rights may be at issue including his first amendment rights to religion and the right to free speech. There may also be federal laws that prohibit religious discrimination. The problem is the available damages. The only monetary award that would justify the cost of litigation is an award of punitive damages (which are not likely in this type of case). If you can incorporate a religious discrimination cause of action, you may be able to get attorney fees. However, you will probably end up paying a lot of money to litigate this case without being able to recover monetary damages.

Other comments suggesting that you talk to the supper superintendent and local media outlets offer the best advice. These avenues will probably be just as effective and cost less money. If they don’t work and you get the superintendent to say your son is not allowed to read the bible in class, you should definitely go forward with your case.

You do have a case. Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate. While schools may monitor behavior to ensure the safety, welfare, and morality of students, they may not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner. The school has decided to permit their students to take advantage of a free reading time. Unless your son was attempting to read something which was clearly objectionable or distracting (e.g. a pornographic magazine), barring his attempt to read (the bible) would fall under a violation of basic rights.

Teachers, principals, and school administrators rarely know what they are talking about when it comes to student rights. I would advise that you contact the ACLU as they will most likely be willing to take the case for free. It would probably not rise to the level of an actual lawsuit, a simple demand letter would probably suffice.

yeah i would during free time there is no way the teacher can discriminate against his choice of books unless it is profane in some way. Also this falls under freedom of religion and by not letting him read it she was in violation of his civil rights. There is only a separation of church and state when the state forces people to learn or obey a certain religion and in this case the teacher seemed to be forcing the issue of a non christian religion which would also violate another civil right. If this was a muslim incident you bet your butt they would sue and win, but lawsuits are way overused and i would try not to if you can get around it.

YES you should take this up.
My cousin had this same problem. She got in trouble for reading the bible, even when some kids were reading Sports Illustrated. Its not like your son was cramming religious beliefs in the classrooms minds. It was very wrong for the teacher to make a scene abot this. I dont think you should sue but DEF have a sitdown with principle/superintendent

I would not let the teacher get away with this. I would contact a lawyer. He has the right to read his bible, as long as he doesn’t read it out load what’s the problem. Notify your church, your local news paper, Your local news network.

On the last day of school the kids normally give their teacher a little present. I would give this teacher a bible.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t have a case. 🙁 I once got in trouble for saying “Merry Christmas” in school, because “Happy Holidays” is more politically correct nowadays. People really could get offended by the Bible – not that they have any right to be offended, but people are stupid sometimes.

For what it’s worth, I think your kid should absolutely be allowed to read his Bible. I’m an atheist, so, in my mind, reading the Bible is no different than reading any other fictional book. If they allow Harry Potter, which might offend Christians, they should allow the Bible, which might offend others.

But I doubt a lawsuit would go in your favor. 🙁

I didn’t know that there was a word in the Bible called Sue,I think you are making to much of this But Im sure theres a land shark that would take your case. Give it a break Theres a time and place for everything It bad enough that there isn’t any teachers out there now then to start all this up again I bet you live in the south Leave it alone and give your self some time to cool off.Remember he has to go to school with all those kids for along time And kids are hard on kids

well, since you brought it up to the teacher, and she ignored you, and you brought it up to the principal, and she ignored you, you probably shouldn’t jump all the way up to suing them. i think you should go up one notch, and talk to the district superintendent. If he/she ignores you, then you can take it up higher, since the district superintendent is as far as it goes within the whole school district. i say you should go to them first because i’m not sure if you even have a case…it’s more of a trivial matter to them. i think that everyone can read what they want to read; it’s not like he’s reading it out loud or trying to influence others with his bible. just reading it silently to himself is definitely not crossing the line.

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