A school, located in the The North Bend School District of Oregon, has come under fire for reportedly making an LGBTQ student read the Bible as a form of punishment. The situation came to light when a letter was sent to district superintendent Bill Yester, accusing the school of "discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation."
@thehill @msmith01954 Um separation of church and state!?— ⚔️USMC & USN veteran⚔️ (@⚔️USMC & USN veteran⚔️)1525996557.0
The letter recounts that the LGBTQ student in question, referred to as "Student 3," was forced to read the Bible while school supervisors watched. Though there was no proof the school had chosen this punishment because of Student 3's sexuality, but both Student 3 and another LGBTQ student ("Student 1") felt this was the reason. The school district defended themselves from claims of discrimination by admitting they had used reading the Bible as a mandatory form of punishment many times in the past.
The letter to superintendent Lester, however, claims there's more evidence of discrimination than the school is letting on:
Student 3 had little choice but to comply with the building administrator's established form of punishment.
There is substantial evidence to support the allegation that the district subjected LGBT+ students to separate or different rules of behaviour, sanctions, or other treatment.
@CNN Who are these teachers that think they have the right to intimidate and humiliate these kids?! This is the rea… https://t.co/n4cLsNDYoV— Genna (@Genna)1526072288.0
Of course, the question of discrimination is only one of the several issues caused by using the Bible as punishment. If the school had, in fact, been using a religious text in such a way for an extended period of time, it would violate the first amendment. The school responded to allegations of violating the constitution by claiming this form of punishment had only been used once, contradicting their earlier claim that this was a standard punishment.
@thehill Inappropriate squared. You can believe whatever religion you want OR NOT, and punishment should be non-ge… https://t.co/KctxUZpadG— icanseerussia (@icanseerussia)1525990702.0
Several other un-investigated situations in the North Bend school district have come to light due to the Bible punishment going viral, including an incident where the child of a building administrator yelled "f****t" at two students holding hands and a counsellor advocating for LGBTQ students was punished by the school. That counsellor commented on this most recent occurance:
These students have required quite a bit of support, but luckily they have some good family and friends.
A lot of students who have been involved didn't come forward or remained anonymous so it's two main students who spearheaded the appeal.
They had the courage to do this.
@thehill 1. Reading the Bible shouldn't be punishment. 2. You should not be able to push your religious beliefs o… https://t.co/fesI4RO8Ha— Mary Boston (@Mary Boston)1525991239.0
For anyone who may be outraged reading about this, fear not! The ACLU is already working on it. Before long, justice will be served.
This is blatantly unconstitutional and @ACLU_OR is already on the case. https://t.co/ZL25i7Rr3Q— ACLU (@ACLU)1525986222.0
This is simple: ✖ Public schools can't proselytize students ✖ Public schools can't force students to read the Bibl… https://t.co/JmOdgWByLa— ACLU (@ACLU)1525976130.0