The Gideon Society will no longer pass out bibles to students at Heritage Middle School in Colleyville, Texas after the Freedom From Religion Foundation stood up for the students’ constitutional rights.
The Gideons are a group of Protestant men who pass out New Testament bibles to schoolchildren in an attempt to proselytize them into specific Protestant sects. FFRF Staff Attorney Liz Cavell wrote Frenship Independent School District Superintendent David Vroonland on June 5, after members of the Gideons stood on school property next to the school’s exit and entrance and hawked the bibles to schoolchildren, who were forced to walk by the men to get to and from school.
Cavell wrote that allowing the Gideons to distribute bibles at the school was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and violated the rights of students to be free from proselytizing at public schools. “Parents also understandably become nervous when adult men take an over-keen interest in handing materials to their young children without parental knowledge or permission,” Cavell noted.
The District’s legal counsel responded to FFRF on June 7 that the Gideons should not have been permitted to distribute bibles to students.