Bible-Spouting 5th-Grader Suspended on Opening Day

Associated Press

A street-preaching 11-year-old was suspended minutes after arriving for the first day of school today after he stuck a Bible in the principal’s face and told him “you go to hell,” school officials said.

“I have trouble when a child says (that) to an authority figure,” Eastfield Elementary School Principal Jim Gorst said.

But the boy’s father had a different version of the confrontation, saying the boy’s words were “You’ll go to hell.”

Duffey Strode, 11, had taken only about 10 steps on school property before the confrontation with Gorst, David Strode, the father, said.

Strode said he then took all three of his children home and did not know if he would take them to school Tuesday.


The father said the trouble began when a sheriff’s deputy took the hand of Duffey’s sister, Pepper, 7, who started screaming, and Duffey “became enraged.”

Strode and his wife, Robin, have been banned from school property and watched from beyond the gates.

Family friends had planned to escort the children from the gate to the school building, but officials instead ordered the deputies to take the children. That’s when Pepper began screaming, Strode said.

Earlier, McDowell County Schools Supt. David Ricketts said he and other school officials dreaded the first day of school because last year the Strode children had preached about “whoremongers” and “fornicators.”

“We cannot go through another year like we did last year,” he said.