American Civil Liberties Union
By Carrie Ellen Sager
A South Carolina school district has agreed to stop allowing the distribution of bibles on school property following a July 3 letter from FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott to Anderson School District One Superintendent David Havird. FFRF’s complainant reported that a man told students they could take a bible as a staffer stood by outside an elementary school library, with bibles on the table.
Elliott’s letter addressed illegal events that occurred in April, when the bibles were distributed to students at Powdersville Elementary School in Greenville, S.C.
“It is unfortunate that some adults view public schools as ripe territory for religious recruitment,” wrote Elliot. “Parents carefully instruct their children not to accept gifts from strangers. Parents also understandably become nervous when adults take an over-keen interest in providing materials to their young children without parental knowledge. As the courts have held, religious instruction is for parents to determine, not for public school educators.” Elliott noted that the distribution was not only in violation of school policy but court precedent.
Counsel for the District responded on July 21 that, “[T]he District will ensure that bibles are not made available to elementary school aged students during the school day on school premises.”