First-grade public school teacher’s ‘daily Bible verse’ angers parents in Texas district

SMITHVILLE, Texas — Parents of students in a Texas public school district have taken issue with an online video a first-grade teacher showing her class repeating Bible verses, apparently in violation of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down school-sponsored Bible readings and prayer.

The video, which was posted to Facebook on Nov. 1 by Susan Schobel, a teacher at Brown Primary School in the Smithville Independent School District, shows her classroom sitting in a circle repeating Romans 12:9-10.

“Start your day with a good Bible verse and life just seems better!!” Schobel wrote in the video’s caption. “This is our daily Bible verse.”

The video was removed several days later, but not before a copy was saved by at least one parent and shared with the Smithville Times newspaper.

“This is not okay,” wrote Ashley Nicole, who has a child at Brown Primary, in a letter to the school district. “I am truly shocked. I am concerned about how this is getting handled.”

Charlie Lucko, who also has a child who attends Brown Primary, sent a similar note to the district, calling the practice unconstitutional and a “religious indoctrination.”

“This was a ‘daily Bible verse’ which leads me to suspect that this has been an ongoing thing,” Lucko said. “I highly doubt that no one on the faculty was aware of this.”

Smithville schools Superintendent Cheryl Burns declined to comment on how the school district intervened, except to say that “we are aware of it and have addressed it.”