Pennsylvania middle school drops bible/library club

The Bible/Library Club that was a homeroom activity at Bellwood-Antis Middle School in Bellwood, Pa., has been dropped by the public school district after a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a parent. FFRF sent a letter Sept. 13 about an Aug. 30 flier that was sent home with students listing the club as one of four that students could participate in during the first-semester homeroom activity period. The other three are chorus, band and cartooning. The description for the Bible/Library Club, supervised by a librarian, says: “Students will assist in the various library activities of organizing and returning books to the shelves and creating bulletin boards. Students may participate in various ‘Christ’ centered activities such as devotional readings, Bible study, prayer and games.”

FFRF received a letter from the school’s principal dated Sept. 14: “The club name has been changed. The new name of the club is Library Club. There is no reference to the Bible and there will not by an ‘Christ’ centered activities, devotionals, prayer or Bible study.” That letter was followed up by one dated Sept. 15 from a school district attorney. “The superintendent was not aware that this club was being conducted during the school day.” Andrews said the district “has taken immediate steps” to discontinue it during the school day and will not allow it to be led or supervised by a teacher. “The district will permit the Bible/Library Club to meet before or after school as a student-run organization,” Andrews said.

Freedom From Religion Foundation