FFRF halts bible distribution at Virginia school (Nov. 7, 2012)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has put an end to unlawful bible distribution at Park View Middle School in Boydton, Va.

Officials at Park View Middle School sanctioned illegal visits from Gideons International. These men were able to distribute bibles on school property to unsuspecting middle school students. A local complainant reported to FFRF that a teacher even went so far as to tell students “don’t forget to get your bibles,” as they boarded the school bus.

“Public schools have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion. When a school distributes religious literature to its students, even passively, it has unconstitutionally entangled itself with a religious message, in this case a Christian message,” wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott in an Oct. 26 letter to school district superintendent James Thornton.

Thornton responded to Elliott on Nov. 7 saying that all school personnel had been contacted and informed of the school district’s policy toward religion in schools. In a memo to staff Thornton advised: “If the purpose of the activity is not secular, if the effect of the activity is to advance or inhibit religion, or if the activity involves an excessive entanglement, then the activity is unconstitutional and will not be permitted.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation