Isaiah Smith, an openly gay 18-year-old senior at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills, Texas, was suspended for three days last week after ripping pages out of a Bible in class.
Smith says that he tore the Bible while trying to make a point to his classmates about bullying. Last Monday, Smith told the Star-Telegram, his classmates started bullying him in Spanish class by telling him he was going to hell for being gay. Smith, who had his Bible with him, started tearing out pages of the Book of Leviticus, which he said many classmates quote when they taunt him.
“At my high school, some kids like to say that being gay is a sin and that you can’t be gay and Christian,” Smith told the Star Telegram. “I wanted to bring my Bible to school and interpret the books of Leviticus and Romans, because they are often used to bully gay people.”
Vice Principal Glenn Serviente reportedly told Smith he is allowed to bring the Bible to class, but he was not allowed to rip it apart, because it caused class disruption. According to the Star-Telegram, Smith’s suspension slip said his discipline was due to “distraction and disruption in class by tearing up Bible in class.”
Smith was permitted to return to school on Monday, but he still wants to fight the punishment. With the help of the Washington D.C. based organization, American Humanist Association, Smith says he plans to sue the district to get the suspension removed from his record.