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Dayton Schools Illegally Proselytize Captive Schoolchildren

Scopes II?

On behalf of a family in Dayton, Tennessee, the national Freedom From Religion Foundation is protesting pervasive religious influence in the town's public schools, including:

  • Bible study in the classroom, conducted during school hours by an outside group of fundamentalist Christians from Bryan College
  • Distribution of bibles in classrooms by the Gideon Society
  • Morning bible reading over the intercom followed by a moment of silence; and
  • the posting of overtly religious messages by some teachers on the walls and doors of classrooms.

The school board more than a year ago voted not to stop the bible classes, despite the clear illegality.

Dan Barker, a spokesperson for the Foundation, which has members in Dayton, as well as throughout Tennessee and the nation, sent an official letter of complaint to Superintendent Sue Porter, Rhea County Schools (see letter), enumerating the various prevailing Supreme. Court decisions which the practices violate.

In his letter, Barker noted the family complainants object to "the indignity that their children (as young as kindergarten!) experience while being forced to sit through the indoctrination of someone else's religion in their own public school system."

"The Dayton schools need to evolve," Barker added.

The Foundation called for assurance that these blatantly illegal practices will be halted immediately.

"Seventy-five years after the Scopes Trial, is this where the Dayton public schools want to be--illegally promoting religion and violating the law?" Barker asked.

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