Texas school gets First Amendment lesson (February 15, 2017)

Students at a Texas school will not be coerced into receiving bibles as part of a misinformed lesson on “free speech” after FFRF contacted the College Station Independent School District about the constitutional violation.

It was brought to FFRF’s attention that a social studies teacher at Oakwood Intermediate School had announced to students that the class would be participating in the springtime Gideon bible distribution to learn about the First Amendment. The activity was to involve walking off of school property to a crosswalk where the Gideons would be handing out bibles. The students would be given a “choice” whether to take a bible before returning to class.

FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote to school district Superintendent Clark Ealy on Jan. 26 to ensure that the teacher would not be permitted to illegally facilitate a bible distribution while representing the district.

On Feb. 15, Oakwood Principal Josh Symank wrote back to assure FFRF that “under no circumstance” would the teacher be taking students to receive bibles. He also informed FFRF that he would be discussing the incident with the entire campus during an upcoming faculty meeting to guarantee that all staff understand and comply with the constitutional separation between church and state.

Furthermore, Symank wrote that his administrative team would be stationed on the day of the bible distribution to make sure that no students escorted by faculty would meet with the Gideons.

Freedom From Religion Foundation