An elementary school in Kansas will no longer allow Gideon Society to proselytize and hand out bibles to students. FFRF was informed that on May 16, a fifth-grade teacher at USD 306 allowed representatives from Gideon’s International to speak and distribute bibles in his classroom.
Additionally, FFRF successfully complained about another teacher in the district actively led, participated and organized a See You at the Pole prayer gathering. Fliers announcing these gatherings sported the teacher’s name, and the teacher leads students in prayer at the gathering.
FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel sent a letter to the district on July 8: “Parents carefully instruct children not to accept gifts from strangers. The Gideon practice is a usurpation of parental authority. It is the duty of public school administrators to protect not only the personal conscience of students but to ensure they are safe from predatory adults while at school.”
Seidel wrote that teacher-led prayer and promotion of events such as See You at the Pole would be perceived by a reasonable observer as being stamped with the school’s approval.
On July 31, the district responded, “[The] superintendent. . . did not have any knowledge that this activity was going on. If he would have known it was occurring he would have stopped it. This confirms that USD 306 will not permit this to happen anymore.”
The letter reported that a new policy prohibiting teachers sponsoring overtly religious events will be enforced by the District.