Gay High School Student Suspended For Ripping Bible
Isaiah Smith, an 18-year-old senior at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills, Texas was suspended after he ripped pages out of his Bible in school. Thomas, who was speaking out for gay rights, says he was attempting to make a point
That point earned him a three day suspension.
The Star-Telegram gives Smith's account of the events, writing:
The incident began Monday when Smith said he brought his Bible to his first-period Spanish class after earlier being bullied for his sexual orientation.
He described how a substitute teacher was overseeing the class that day when students began taunting him about how he was going to hell.
Smith said he then started tearing out pages from the Book of Leviticus explaining that when he is bullied, other students often quote Leviticus.
“I think the Bible was a tool for Christians to use to guide them spiritually, emotionally and mentally,” he said.
Smith described how Vice Principal Glenn Serviente told him he could bring his Bible to school, but could not rip it apart in class. Serviente, when contacted by the Star-Telegram, referred all questions to Thomas.
Smith said he carried around his ripped Bible the remainder of the day and Tuesday without incident, but on Wednesday was called to Serviente’s office and reprimanded.
Smith said the assistant principal asked him how Muslims would feel if someone ripped the Quran. Smith responded they would not like it but that he tore up his own Bible, not something belonging to someone else.
Smith said he was told of his suspension, and then described how Serviente “reached around” and confiscated the ripped Bible and put it in his desk.
Smith believes his suspension is unfair and he plans to sue the Birdville School District to have the suspension removed from his record. The Star-Telegram reports that an attorney from the American Humanist Association has taken on his case for free.
A spokesman for the Birdville School District, Mark Thomas says that Smith's suspension was based on him disrupting the learning environment, which Thomas explains is in line with the BISD Student Code of Conduct.
Thomas goes on to say that Smith's suspension was solely based on his behavior and not on the fact that the book that he ripped pages from was a Bible.
Smith's disciplinary slip, however, reads: "distraction and disruption in class by tearing up Bible in class."
Thomas says the school district has begun an inquiry into Smith's claims that he's been bullied.
What's your take, Instincters? Was Isaiah Smith's suspension justified? Does he have a case against the school district?