Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Z_CNHI News Service

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
Z_CNHI News Service
Local News
Facebook
AP Video
Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Dozens Gain Citizenship As Debate Continues Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Children of Deported Parents Speak Out GOP: Immigration a 'human Rights Issue' Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Tornadoes Kill Four in Central New York McCaskill: Campus Assault Survey Is Wake Up Call Raw: Obama Shoots Pool in Denver Typhoon Nears Japan's Main Islands Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game
Must Read
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content
Video