A Georgia school district has stopped the Gideons from distributing bibles in a number of schools after FFRF raised several objections.
Many parents reported to FFRF that Ebenezer Elementary School and Marlow Elementary School in the Effingham County Schools system allowed Gideons to enter classrooms, preach to students about the significance of the bible, and distribute bibles to young students, including our complainants’ children. Every child was reportedly given a bible (although they were told that they could return it to the teacher if they didn’t want it).
Gideons International is an association of Christian business and professional men who are members of Protestant/evangelical churches “dedicated to telling people about Jesus . . . by providing Bibles and New Testaments.” Their website openly refers to “students in the fifth grade and above” as prime targets.
It is unconstitutional for public school districts to permit the Gideon Society to distribute bibles as part of the public school day, FFRF Attorney Chris Line emphasized to Effingham County Schools officials.
FFRF’s admonitions had their effect.
“The Board of Education has authorized me to assure that outside adults, including the Gideons, will not be allowed into the classrooms of any of the schools in the school district to proselytize or distribute religious materials,” the school system’s legal counsel recently responded.