The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter last week to the Cannon County REACH afterschool program after being contacted by a family when their son claimed he wasn't allowed to read his Bible during free time.
According to a news release from the ACLU of Tennessee, the elementary school student allegedly stated that REACH Staff told the boy he could read any book except the Bible and that he would have to put the Bible away. When the boy refused to do so, staff tried to take his Bible away from him and claimed that the state could shut the REACH program down if they allowed him to read it. The letter added that the REACH Staff's actions of the student's ability to read the Bible of his own choosing during free time demonstrates a misunderstanding of the religious liberty protections in the U.S. Constitution, The Tennessee Constitution and Federal Laws.
The ACLU requests that the REACH program train its employees on “their obligation under the law to safeguard their students’ religious liberties without imposing religion on them.” The letter also requests that the child be allowed to read his Bible during free-read periods and other student activity time. The letter ended with a request for the REACH program to submit in writing that the employees have been instructed on their obligation under the law to safeguard their students religious liberties.
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