The Freedom From Religion Foundation has prevented Gideons International from distributing bibles to fifth grade students at Central Elementary School in Magnolia, Ark.
Prior to FFRF's involvement, men from Gideons International were scheduled to give a presentation to young students and then present them with a bible. "It is unconstitutional for public school districts to facilitate or allow the distribution of bibles on school grounds to a captive audience of students. Courts have held that the distribution of bibles to students at public schools is prohibited," wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott in an Oct. 31 letter to Superintendent John Moore.
Elliott added that districts cannot allow Gideons, or any other groups to distribute religious material during the school day. Young school children can be very impressionable and "feel immense social pressure to accept the bible."
"It's very rare that we issue a complaint and the school district takes action to prevent this kind of illegal activity," Elliott said. FFRF received word on Nov. 5 that the Gideons were not allowed to be on campus.