"Amber Mangum was a frequent reader during lunch breaks at her Prince George's County middle school, silently soaking up the adventures of Harry Potter and other tales in the spare minutes before afternoon classes. The habit was never viewed as a problem -- not, a lawsuit alleges, until the book she was reading was the Bible.This article in the Washington Post raises some serious questions about judgement, especially considering that, according to the Prince Georges County School System policy regarding reigious and patriotic expression, "students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray before tests to the same extent they may engage in comparable, non-disruptive activities."
A vice principal at Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel last month ordered Amber, then 12, to stop reading the Bible or face punishment, according to a lawsuit filed Friday by Amber's mother. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, alleges that the vice principal's actions violated the girl's civil rights. ..."
Whay is unclear from the article is whether the vice principal was reacting to a specific complaint or whether the vice principal simply observed the "offence" and moved to put a stop to it.
Certainly, the existence of the policy seems to imply that reading a Bible or praying before meal or tests are not in and of themselves "disruptive", and they are to be permitted.
It seems that the Prince Georges County school system has a bit of a problem here.
UPDATE -- October 7, 2006: in a correction to the original article, the girl acknowledges that she misidentified the school official who told her to stop reading her Bible. The complaint no longer specifies the vice principal, but states that the official's identity is unknown.
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