An atheist activist group has its sights set on a White Oak, Texas, high school after it was revealed that the principal reads students daily Bible scriptures, an exercise referred to as “Thought for the Day.” But if the defiant response from the White Oak ISD superintendent is any indication, it seems no one will be backing down.

Superintendent Michael Gilbert not only defended White Oak High School principal Dan Noll in a written statement, he also told the Freedom From Religion Foundation, “I’m sorry you feel that way. I will be praying for you and your staff daily.”

Noll’s daily scripture readings made headlines after a student recorded the principal and gave the audio to an atheist blogger. The tradition apparently goes back decades, according to students who spoke to KETK-TV.

In his statement, Gilbert said in his statement that he “will not pursue any action against our High School Principal or any other member of our faculty/staff concerning this issue.”

More from 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. We can and will make the adjustments needed to ensure our students experience a morally sound, positive character based education. There are a multitude of options to provide our students, faculty and staff the opportunity to express their First Amendment Rights as provided for in the United States Constitution. Let me also be clear that we have not (in my opinion) violated anyone’s rights and/or subjected anyone to undue stress. 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.

My recommended response to the FFRF is, “I’m sorry you feel that way. I will be praying for you and your staff daily.”

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.

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