The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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
  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014