Lewis Public Schools USD in Lewis, Kansas, will not allow the Gideon Society to distribute materials during the school day or facilitate such distributions.
A complainant contacted FFRF after a fifth-grade teacher directed her students to cross the street unescorted to receive a bible during the school day. The teacher lined the students up, told them to cross the street to get the bibles, but did not accompany the children because she believed this made her actions legal.
When the complainant’s child refused a bible because the student’s family was not religious, the teacher asked the student, “Do you always do what your parents tell you to do?”
The complainant noted that bible distribution by Gideons at the school has been going on for 30-some years.
FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel sent a letter on May 21 to Superintendent Virgil Richie, pointing out why forcing students to accept religious literature is predatory and illegal:
“The arbitrary line the District drew to pretend this bible distribution was acceptable was patently ridiculous. A teacher leading students to the schoolhouse doors during class time, instructing them to leave school property alone to receive a bible, and questioning students who do not wish to participate shows that the District clearly coordinated and facilitated the bible distribution and required students to participate in it.”
On June 10, Superintendent Ritchie responded that it had been decided that “Lewis Elementary School will not allow The Gideon Society to distribute materials during the school day or on school grounds. The teacher mentioned in your letter is no longer employed by the school district.”