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'We Just Want an Apology': Teacher Tells Student to Put Away Bible During Free Reading Time

As seen on Fox and Friends

On Tuesday, Todd Starnes stopped by Fox and Friends to detail the story of a Florida student whose elementary school teacher told him he could not read his Bible during free reading time. The teacher, Swornia Thomas, then called 12-year-old Giovanni Rubeo's parents and left the following message.


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“I noticed that he has a book – a religious book – in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom," she said in a recording played this morning. The Liberty Institute is now representing the family, demanding a written apology from Park Lakes Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale.

Giovanni had complied when asked on previous occasions to put away his Bible. His father then told him he had a right to read it in class and instructed his son to tell the teacher to call him the next time an issue arose.

Giovanni and his dad, Paul, discussed the situation with Steve Doocy this morning, along with their attorney from the Liberty Institute, Jeremy Dys. Giovanni said he "loves reading the Bible" after receiving the book at Christmas from his church.

"The voice message just kind of speaks for itself," said Paul Rubeo.

Dys said Thomas' actions were an "egregious" constitutional violation, adding that she was treating the Bible like "contraband."

In a statement, Broward County Public Schools said it "upholds the rights" of students to bring religious items, including the Bible, to school and read it before or after school and during free reading time. Doocy pointed out that the school has argued that the incident did not occur during "free reading time."

Giovanni said that defense "is not right at all." Paul said all he wants is a written apology from the school, admitting the mistake.

Watch the full interview above, and check out some details on Todd Starnes' new book, "God Less America," that details real stories of attacks on faith.


Read more stories like this from Todd Starnes:

Atheists Strong-Arm WV High School Wrestling Team Over Bible Verse

Air Force Removes Bible Verse From Cadet's Whiteboard

School: Lil’ Wayne Is Fine, the Bible Is Not

CA Teacher Tells 1st-Grader to Stop Talking About the Bible


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