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ACLU Defends Cannon Co. Boy's Right To Read Bible At School

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ACLU Defends Cannon Co. Boy's Right To Read Bible At School

CREATED Apr 8, 2014

WOODBURY, Tenn. – The American Civil Liberties Union has offered its support to a 9-year-old Cannon County student who was allegedly told he couldn't read his Bible during an after school program.

Austin Grayson attends the Cannon County REACH after school program in Woodbury. Last month, his mother, Lisa Koepfgen, said he was told he couldn't read his Bible during a free reading period.

"He had pulled his bible out and he was told to put it away," she said. "When he was told to put it away, he recited the First Amendment."

His response generated quite a bit of controversy.

"Free country, free religion," said Austin. 

Koepfgen said the staff at the REACH program told her because the program is funded by the state, Austin wasn't allowed to read religious materials.

That's when she went to the ACLU of Tennessee, who sent a letter to the cannon county reach program last week saying:

"Tennessee public school students cannot be denied the right to engage in religious activities during student activity times, recess and other free time."

Officials with the ACLU said the letter was circulated among all staff members at Cannon County REACH.

"I am so thankful that the law has been clarified not only for reach but for everyone that this story has touched," she said.

Representatives for the Cannon County Reach program did not respond to NewsChannel 5's calls and emails for comment.