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No Bible During Show and Tell — Right Call?

A US court has ruled that a kindergartner at a Philadelphia public school cannot have his mother read passages from the Bible during his show and tell presentation.

The court decided that the boy's free speech rights were not violated by the schools refusal to let him share his "favorite book" because the classroom was a nonpublic venue and the children were very young.

Do you think a young child at a public school should be able to share religious texts during show and tell? What if the boy wanted to share the story of Noah's ark or some other insightful parable? Does separation of church and state mean that all religious material should be banned from public schools even when it has the opportunity to help students understand each other and their diverse backgrounds?


Allytta Allytta 8 years
a bible? come on, America is Christian country. all other religions are new comers, so what the ef? I hate when they push Koran on British students though.
Phil Phil 8 years
Thanks for that update fcseamstress. So the idea that the Bible was actually the child's favorite book is looking more discredited, and it looks as if it was a calculated move by his mother--along with the baseless lawsuits she has and probably will be filing. Those evangelicals, they're something else.
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
Just saw an update on this story... The case went to court and the court said it was a no-no. Also, interestingly enough, there was an excerpt from the child's babysitter that said "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" was his favorite book. So in other words, what I suspected about the parents goading him into it seems to be the case.
vanitypot vanitypot 8 years
it really amounts to censorship but coming from a country with the highest number of Catholic Christians in Asia, maybe i'm just being biased.. *shrugs* but here's the point: just like what Tres said, parables aren't just 'religious' stories to be thrown around to 'non-believers' and expecting them to convert right there and then... if the kid wanted to share parables or other popular stories from the Bible, it's downright amazing :) these stories contain values and lessons that are worth listening and learning to especially to young kids :) if the teacher is concerned about the religious aspect of it, he/she can explain his/her side to the mom and maybe suggest leaving the 'religious aspect' aside.. that could work, i think.. :p
For those talking 'separation of church and state' as a reason to deny this Show and Tell, please read what it's about. Also, if he's five, perhaps he can't read his favorites, yet...thus, Mom comes in to do it. It's strange that some find it okay to discuss sexual orientation at this age but you'd better not mention the possibility of God.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Joy13 I think that's wonderful that the child at your summer camp chose a religion on their own. I know, personally, I would like my child to have Faith, but would like it to be a conscious decision on their part rather than following blindly.
NiceDriveway NiceDriveway 8 years
I feel like this stuff only happens in America (where everyone is concerned about their 'rights' (equally as ridiculous: people protesting over not being able to bring peanut butter sandwiches to school (because of other kids' allergies) because it violated their 'personal rights.' Come on). In France, children can't do this; religious signs are banned (no head scarves either). Children do have the right to learn about religions, but unless the other parents of kids in the class consented to it, this is not the forum. Agreed with the above posters--what would happen if a child brought in the Koran?
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
"I think it's important for children to learn about ALL religions." EXACTLY! But school is not the place for this! I don't know about you, but religion is huge and is not something I want a stranger (teacher) teaching my child. Teach them about numbers and word comprehension, but teachings about a belief system should be left to parents. Oh no! Dare I suggest that parents actually teach their children something!
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
I think that it should have been allowed... and I'm an atheist-leaning agnostic. I think it's important for children to learn about ALL religions. They all have something to say, and there's a reason they have followers. When I have children, I intend to read them Bible stories, stories from the Koran, the Torah, Bagavad Ghida (sp?), Siddartha, Tao Te Ching, etc. As well as folklore like the tales recorded by the brothers Grimm. I want them to be able to make up their own minds. My family is "Catholic" in that my grandpa was a minister that got excommunicated for marrying a Protestant woman. My mom was raised Catholic but kinda gravitated toward Hinduism and the Vedas. I grew up with stories from the Bible and Aesop and fairy tales. I also grew up hearing Vedic and Hindu stories, read Siddhartha in high school (in both English and German), and... was able to make up my own mind deciding that religions are all fundamentally the same and there's no point (for me) in choosing one. I'd be very happy if my child's school allowed religious STORIES (but not preaching) because I want my child to be exposed to all of them, preferably in school. I know that when I was in high school I was very frustrated that the school had become extra "secularized" by taking away a sort of "religions of the world class" (but kept in the Christian theology we learned in Sophomore English, and reading Siddhartha). I would have very much liked to have learned about and explored other religions.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Ummm plain and simple if it's a nonsectarian public school then the bible is a no no. If it's a private school then it's fine.
janneth janneth 8 years
Yes, over reacting. The school was not teaching religion. And the mom was reading his fav story because he doesn't know how to read yet. You don't have to be religious to appreciate the bible. If you shelter your kids from bible stories, they will be culturally illiterate. There are so many references in literature. And if you tour European art museums, it deepens the experience if you know Greek mythology, the Bible, and the lives of the Christian saints.
RCLdesigngirl RCLdesigngirl 8 years
The boy was in kindergarten, so that means he was probably 5 or 6 years old...let's be real. I think it's adorable and sweet and people are just overreacting.
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
Yeah, I'm really on the fence about this. If the kid was the one bringing in the family Bible that had been in his family since his great-great-whatever and told/read the story that was his favorite then I'd be ok with it. But since it was his mom reading the story it makes me think the kid may have been goaded into it (esp with the parents suing). It also gives the parent too much of an opportunity to start preaching, because no 5 year old I know can listen to any story without questions afterward. I'd put money on it that the parents would have sued if another kid brought an alternative religious text in and started reading from it. You can call the stories in the Bible mythology (which to me they are) but there are many, many people in this country who believe they are straight, solid history. That's one of the reasons it gets tricky trying to present them in a non-religious way in schools. And it's not just what the students are learning; the teachers have a lot of ability to sway even the most rigid course structure to their personal liking as well... le romantique - I'm Pagan and have been since Jr. High... I tried to start a multi-faith group at my school in response to the prayer clubs since I was straight out shut out for not being Christian, and was pretty much told that since no teacher would sponsor (ie. put their career on the line) the group that I couldn't do it on school grounds. But I'll join your club!
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
*think IF the kid... (not IT the kid)
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Symp: I didn't know you could bring in parents to talk about jobs for show and tell. I thought it was only stuff that you could bring. Yeah, they didn't have Show and Tell in my schools so I am a bit unfamiliar with what is/isn't allowed. Mostly I would just be afrid that the parent saw this as an opportunity to preach, and not that a kid really wanted to do it (I think it the kid really wanted to, they should say their favorite verses themselves).
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I completely understand what you are saying Smacks but my belief on it is if a child can ask an older sibling or parent to come in and talk about their job for show and tell why not have his parent help share his favorite bible verse or story?
Jmartens Jmartens 8 years
I'm all for separation of church and state, but I think this is okay. Not because I like the idea, but because I think we need to uphold the basic fundamentals of our law.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
The Bible was one of my mom's fav books growing up. She spent a summer reading it from cover to cover because she wanted to.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Symphonee...actually I would of possibly had less of an issue with it if it wasn't for the fact his mom was going to be the one reading it. Not the boy. I didn't think show and tell was the parents demonstrating it.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
It was his favorite book. come on. You can bring in a puppy if my kid is allergic but my son can't have his favorite passage in the bible shared during show and tell. What is that telling him that his religion is a thing to be feared and not shared. He wanted to share a story!
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