Superintendent Apologizes Over Bible Reading Confusion

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 6's Ari Odzer has the details on an apology from Broward Schools after a student was told not to read his bible in class. (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie publicly apologized for an incident where a 12-year-old student was told not to read the Bible.

    “First, let me apologize to the student and his family,” Runcie said at a Broward School Board meeting Tuesday, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Let me be clear. Broward County Public Schools respects and upholds the right to bring personal religious material to school, including the Bible.”

    The public apology from Superintendent Runcie came after a parent said his son was told that he couldn’t read his Bible during a free reading time in class. Paul Rubeo said his son Giovanni was not permitted to read the Bible at Park Lakes Elementary in Lauderdale Lakes.

    “After I started reading it, little by little, it became my favorite book to read,” Giovanni said about the Bible. “A lot more better than all the other books. She told me to put it away. And I cooperated. I was cool. I put it away.”

    Rubeo initially sent a letter asking the principal and teacher to let his son read his bible during free time. Broward Schools admitted in a statement on Monday and in Runcie’s apology Tuesday that it was in the wrong and that school policy was Giovanni, and any Broward student could read the books they chose.

    Monday, the family said all they wanted was an apology, which was delivered on Tuesday. Paul Rubeo said Monday about an apology, “Let’s all get past this. Don’t be stubborn. Let’s move on.”

    However, the group “Liberty Institute” is still not satisfied with the initial response and apology from Runcie. Specifically, Liberty wasn’t to know if a school spokesperson “publicly and repeatedly suggested” that the Bible and other religious books are banned from being read during the accelerated reading program.

    Additionally, the group wants to know in writing if the teacher “did anything wrong when she said that ‘religious books’ are banned from the classroom.” The group gave the school system a deadline to respond of May 15, 2014 and threatened that if not given a satisfactory response, “we will proceed with the appropriate legal steps up to and including litigation.”