Michael Gilbert, superintendent of White Oak Public School in Texas, showed support for one of his principals who was found quoting Biblical scriptures over the school’s intercom, which has been a long-standing tradition and has been criticized by several atheist groups in the past.
One of the students at White Oak High School had recorded his principal Dan Noll delivering the ritual “Thought for the Day”, which often includes messages from the Bible. He then turned the recording over to atheist activists who decided to take action against the school’s practice thereafter.
Gilbert went on to issue an insolent statement in mid-March, saying he has no plans of disciplining Noll or making changes to the regular “Thought for the Day”, a tradition that first started in the 1970s, as part of the school’s morale.
“Recently, I have been contacted by two concerned residents of White Oak ISD and legal counsel from the Freedom From Religion Foundation concerning the use of scripture in the ‘Thought for the Day’ at the high school,” Gilbert said in the statement. “Let me be clear, this is an attempt to draw us into a contest of words for the sole purpose of giving the FFRF a large amount of free press/recognition that they and their very few members (1,200 in Texas) do not deserve. … This group and others like it are wanting us to provide them with negative quotes to use in the promotion of their agenda. … My recommended response to the FFRF is, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way. I will be praying for you and your staff daily.’ … Bible studies and scriptures are allowed in schools. … The requirement is that the material be presented in a neutral manner. It is my position that we met that standard with the morning announcements. … Finally, as a Christian Brother, it will not promote the values we hold so dear to assail those that disagree with the Gospel. … We will state our case. We will make sure our rights are just as protected as anyone else that lives in this great country. We will continue to provide for all the needs of our students and we will do so while traveling the High Road. Don’t get drawn into a game of words that has no ‘winner.’ Please do not waste your time and effort on these few detractors.”
Later, Noll went on to thank the local community for showing him support at the time of the controversy.
“Thank you for all the kinds words, love and support,” Noll said. “I love my students and I love the staff. I never doubt where the community stands because they will always come together.”
Photo Credits: Christian News