FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 12-year-old student in Florida’s Park Lakes Elementary School was recently reprimanded by his activist teacher for reading a Bible during free time.

MORE NEWS: From Classroom to Consulate Chef: Culinary Student Lands Dream Job at U.S. Embassy in Paris reports that Giovanni Rubeo was ordered by his teacher – Swornia Thomas – to dial his home phone number on the classroom phone so she could report the “offense” to Rubeo’s parents.

And in case the behavior of the activist-masquerading-as-an-educator wasn’t offensive enough, this all took place in front of Rubeo’s classmates, no doubt with the intention of embarrassing and humiliating the boy.

With help from The Liberty Institute, Rubeo’s parents released a recording of Thomas’ April 8 message.

“I noticed that he has a book – a religious book – in the classroom,” Thomas said in the recording. “He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.”

Two observations.

First, Thomas incorrectly identifies herself as the owner of the classroom. That classroom – and the school it’s a part of – belongs to the taxpayers of the Broward County School District. Thomas is merely the taxpayers’ employee, and nothing more.

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The second point is also the point of The Liberty Institute – the legal firm that’s representing the Rubeo family: A student’s right to practice his religion (in a non-disruptive manner) does not end when he walks through the school doors.

As such, Liberty Institute attorneys are “demanding that Giovanni be allowed to read his Bible during free reading time,” reports. “They also want the school to issue a written apology to the boy.”

After first choosing to hide under their desks in fear of the controversy, Broward County school leaders are now affirming that students have the right to “read the Bible, or any other religious book, during free time,” CBS Miami reports.

Thomas’ April phone call home was apparently the culmination of several weeks’ worth of back-and-forth between her and the student over his Bible-reading ways.


“In February and March, the boy’s teacher ordered him to stop reading his Bible. During those instances, the child complied with his teacher’s demands. But when his father discovered what happened, he began investigating and determined the school was violating his son’s Constitutional rights.

“From that point on, Rubeo told his son that if his teacher or anyone else at the school told him he could not read his Bible during free time, he was politely to ask the teacher to call home. And that’s what happened on April 8.”

The only way to solve these type of problems is for all Americans to have genuine school choice so clear-thinking parents can flee these ignorant, intolerant and indoctrination-obsessed institutions that laughably call themselves “schools.”