A Missouri school teacher humiliated a 12 year old boy in front of his class after she caught him reading his favorite book--the Bible--during his free time.
Loyal Grandstaff-Marshall, a seventh grader at Bueker Middle School, wasn't reading aloud or bothering his classmates when his teacher told him to put down his Bible.
"I was just reading. I was just reading because I had free time. I had to do what I wanted to do," Loyal told Fox News.
Justin Grandstaff, Loyal's father, says he and his wife are infuriated by the teacher's demands. As devout Christians, they are trying to raise their son to honor God, work hard, do the right things--and respect authority.
"I feel like it is violating not only his freedom of religion, but also his freedom of speech," Justin said.
"There's kids walking around disrespecting their teachers, kids walking around cussing and everything else and they're practically getting into no trouble at all," he added.
According to Loyal, the Bible encourages him on a daily basis--which is why he loves it so much.
"I'll never stop reading it," the 12 year old explained to Fox News.
"But [my teacher] doesn't want me reading it in his class because he don't believe it, because he feels like he's shutdown," Loyal said.
The Liberty Institute, a legal firm that specializes in religious liberty issues, previously represented Christian parents in a similar incident involving their son, 12 year old Giovanni Rubeo. Last year, the boy was ordered by his teacher not to read his Bible during his free time at Park Lakes Elementary School in Fort Lauterdale, FL.
Hiram Sasser, the Liberty Institute's director of litigation, argued that the school had violated the boy's constitutional rights and accused them of viewpoint discrimination, restricting the free exercise of religion and engaging in hostility towards religion.
He cited U.S. Department of Education guidance that allows for students to read their Bibles during non-instructional time. It reads in part, "...students students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour, or other noninstructional time to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious activities."
"There's a big problem in our public schools," said Sasser.
The principal of Bueker Middle School has said there is no policy against the Bible at the school, and will look into the incident.