Vice Principal tells Florida student Nicholas Ortiz to stop bringing Bible to school
In 2022, the parents of a 14-year-old student, Nicholas Ortiz, with his parents parents, Rafael and Lourdes, filed a lawsuit against Mater Academy public charter school in Hialeah Gardens, Florida, for religious discrimination and bullying.
Ortiz allegedly faced repeated attacks for his Christian faith, according to an article by Focus in the Family.
The incidents began in 2021 when Nicholas’ science teacher, Mr. Ardieta, questioned his belief in God and insinuated that he was ignorant for believing in the Bible.
Bible pages torn by classmates
Nicholas, a high school freshman attending Mater Academy Cutler Bay since 2018, used to bring his Bible to school to read during his free time to exercise his faith. Unfortunately, he was repeatedly harassed for being an odd student who reads the Bible.
In September 2021, some students mocked Nicholas while he read Bible verses during his free time at school. They grabbed and threw the Bible back and forth and tore some pages, the complaint said.
Don’t bring your Bible to school
Ortiz reported the incident, but to his surprise, the Mater Vice Principal Polido somewhat blamed Nicolas’ eccentric behavior and told him to stop bringing his Bible. Perhaps to avoid a similar confrontation, but then discounting his religious freedom.
The following month, a student kicked Nicholas’ iPad during class and threatened him repeatedly. For days, his schoolmate intimidated Nicolas and would push him. Nicholas retaliated and threw a backpack at the student and slapped him.
Nicolas reported the incident, but he said that the school did not do a full investigation. Instead, he was suspended for ten days.
Homeland Security steps in
In early December 2021, two students, via a group chat, accused Nicholas of making threats to shoot a fellow student. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was alerted and investigated at the Ortiz residence. USDHS deemed the incident unfounded.
Instead of an apology for falsely accusing Nicolas, the school suspended him again for ten days “due to the disruption of the learning environment.”
The court case is currently being pursued.