Morning announcements at school usually consist of The Pledge Of Allegiance, football scores, and what's for lunch that day, but for one small Texas town they also include a morning Bible reading. According to Patheos, Dan Noll, principal of White Oak High School in Texas, allegedly recites a Bible verse to his students every single day as a part of his usual morning announcements.
The Bible quoting went public after a student -- who asked to remain anonymous -- provided recordings of the announcements to Patheos writer Hemant Mehta. The student provided three separate recordings all taken over the course of one month. Here's one of them for your listening pleasure:
… from Proverbs 28:10: He who leads upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.
I know what you're thinking,: isn't it illegal to read Bible verses to students in a public school? The answer is yes! Yes, it is. As noted by Mehta, the Supreme Court declared school-sponsored Bible readings to be unconstitutional in 1963. Apparently this principal either didn't get the memo, or he's like:
There's nothing wrong with a school principal also being a person of strong faith. It's just that they can't bring that faith to school with them. Principals aren't there to act as spiritual advisers. A daily inspirational quote from a respected leader or other famous figure could inspire and motivate kids just as well. Perhaps famous historical figures aren't as cool to the principal as Biblical figures, but that doesn't make it okay to lord your personal beliefs over impressionable young people who've been entrusted into your care.
The principal has been reported to the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an organization dedicated to protecting the separation between church and state, who actually has already received notifications about White Oak High School and Dan Noll due to other overtly religious displays. Writes Mehta:
This district is already in FFRF’s sights because of illegal prayers said over the loudspeakers during football games and coach-led prayers before the game. The district denied both charges.
Obviously these public displays of religion aren't a new thing in White Oak, but it's heartening to know this student isn't the first or only person to speak up about what's going on in his school. Religious beliefs, or a lack thereof, are deeply personal. Even if you're sure your version of God is absolute and true, it's not okay to use a platform in public education to preach those beliefs. Conversations about religion are best left out of the classroom.