An East Texas principal has been attacked for reportedly quoting scriptures from the Bible over the intercom during his regular morning announcements at the beginning of each school day. The timing of this is quite interesting since it is just a few weeks before Easter when the Bible is read and studied in most Christian churches. Not only that, but it is also just a couple of weeks before the miniseries, “The Bible,” will air on NBC.
According to NBC News on KETK local television station in Texas, anti-religion groups have been notified after an unidentified student recorded the White Oak High School principal quoting Bible verses for all students to hear regardless of their religious beliefs. Some students thought it was wrong for their principal to make Bible reading part of the announcements every morning.
The recordings of Principal Dan Noll reading Bible verses were first turned over to Hemant Mehta, an atheist blogger. Then the activist forwarded the recordings of the principal quoting Bible verses to the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Wisconsin. Sam Grover, attorney for the organization, contends that reading the Bible at school violates the separation of church and state.
Grover is investigating the matter and stated that if it is confirmed that Noll does read the Bible to students, “the practice is flatly unconstitutional and cannot continue.”
The Longview News-Journal reported that Principal Noll is receiving quite a bit of support during his Bible quoting controversy. Former students of the high school say Noll has been quoting the Bible on the intercom as far back as the 1970s. However, no one had a problem with hearing scriptures from the Bible because it was a positive way to start the day. Some former and some current students, along with some faculty members, are defending Principal Dan Noll’s Bible reading on social media.
Michael Gilbert, White Oak School District Superintendent, acknowledged that he was fully aware of Noll’s use of Bible readings during morning announcements. The superintendent added that the principal is fully protected, but they will be adjusting their daily thought for the day.
It is true that while some think the principal is out of line for reading from the Bible, there are some who contend that if he is reading from the Bible, then he should be reading from materials that represent all faiths of the students. A former White Oak High School student, Tyler Martin, responded to the superintendent’s remarks by saying, “If your institution was private, then there would be no one able to question your actions, but for a public school to be reciting religious texts directly goes against the decision made by the Supreme Court.”
Do you support Principal Noll’s habit of reading the Bible during his morning announcements?