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David Boze

Florida teacher stops student from reading bible

After Monday's victory in the Supreme Court upholding that it's OK to pray before local town meetings, an elementary school teacher in Florida appears to be trying to restrict religious liberty.

According to the Liberty Institute, a teacher at Park Lakes Elementary School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on April 8 told fifth grader Giovanni Rubeo to stop reading from his Bible in class during a "free" period.

Then, the teacher called Rubeo's parents, leaving a voicemail explicitly stating that religious books are not allowed in public school.

"Giovanni called you because I asked him to," the teacher says in the recording. "I noticed he has a book, a religious book, in the classroom. He's not permitted to read those books in my classroom. He said if I told him to put it away, you said not to do that. So please give me a call, I need to have some understanding on direction to him about the book he's reading as opposed to the curriculum for public school."

After hearing the message, Rubeo's father, Paul, contacted school officials. They rebuffed his inquiry into the matter, so Paul Rubeo retained the Liberty Institute. The organization has asked the Broward School District to write an apology and restore Rubeo's - and any other student's - right to read the Bible.

"The shocking thing to me was when the Liberty Institute reached out," David Boze commented, "Broward County didn't call him back. If I was superintendent or on the school board and got a call about this and just took 41 seconds to listen to the audio [of the teacher's voicemail], I wouldn't even bother talking to an attorney, I'd just [let Rubeo read his bible]."

"It shows how far some people have been ingrained with the idea that the Constitution gives you a freedom from religion, and that's their greater goal in life, is to protect you from any and all hints of religion."

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