Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Community News Network

August 23, 2013

ACLU warns Kentucky schools about Bible giveaways

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The American Civil Liberties Union says some Kentucky public schools have allowed Bibles to be given to students during school hours, and it is warning school districts to end the practice or risk a lawsuit. 

In a letter sent this week, the Kentucky chapter of the ACLU claims that The Gideons International has been giving Bibles to students for years in some elementary schools, and few districts had policies governing who is allowed to pass out items to students. 

The ACLU contends that allowing the Bible giveaways violate the First Amendment, which prohibits laws respecting an establishment of religion. The letter urges school districts to adopt a policy to prevent a court challenge.

The ACLU's investigation was prompted by reports from parents, spokeswoman Amber Duke said.

"We had been going on a case-by-case basis by contacting the districts and sending letters outlining the law and constitutional issues," she said.

One of the complaints was from a parent of a child in Worthington Elementary School in the Raceland-Worthington district, near the Kentucky-Ohio border, Duke said. The parent contacted the ACLU in November 2012, saying representatives of the Gideons were allowed in the classroom to give out Bibles.

"It had been a tradition," said Raceland-Worthington School District Superintendent Larry Coldiron. "Whether it was right or wrong, it had been allowed to go on for years in our school system."

Based on its open records requests, the ACLU contends the Gideons "intentionally exploited districts' lack of a centralized decision-maker for these types of requests by specifically instructing its members to seek approval for their in-school Bible distribution efforts 'at the lowest level of authority and progress higher only as may be required.'"

The ACLU also said the Gideons discouraged members from seeking school-board approval "because of the potential for unfavorable publicity by the news media."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller