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School reminded it can’t allow Gideons in class (September 28, 2018)

FFRF Legal Fellow Chris Line reminded a Tennessee school district of its prior resolution to not allow Gideons to distribute bibles in Tullahoma schools.

A concerned parent reported that Gideons were allowed to distribute bibles in East Lincoln Elementary School. All three 5th-grade classes reportedly gathered in one classroom where a Gideon spoke to the class while a teacher handed out bibles. The Gideons reportedly told students they should keep the bibles for 60 years.

FFRF originally contacted the same district in 2012 regarding a similar issue, at which time the district assured FFRF it would advise principals to prohibit any like distribution of materials in the future.

District Superintendent Dan Lawson sent a response to FFRF, confirming the event took place and acknowledging the unconstitutionality of such an event. Lawson informed FFRF that the principal was relatively new to the position and that the district conducted a professional development activity to ensure “all current principals and all clearly understand their obligations and responsibilities in this regard.”