FFRF convinces Texas school district to cease bible distribution

A Texas school district halted the distribution of bibles in response to a Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint.

FFRF had heard from parents that bibles were being handed out to students at West Orange-Stark Elementary School. The national state/church watchdog group sent a number of letters since 2014 to the local school district asking it to stop the practice.

“Courts have uniformily held that the distribution of bibles to students during the school day is prohibited,” FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover wrote in a Jan. 6 letter to West Orange-Cove School District Superintendent Rickie Harris. “There is no excuse or justification for this practice. It is unnecessary, offensive and illegal.” 

Grover pointed out that students not accepting the bibles may be bullied, undercutting attempts to make schools an inclusive and friendly place for everyone.

In a response dated Feb. 1, lawyers for the school district said that they had counseled the school about the rules governing such issues. “We anticipate no further issues in the future,” the legal firm stated. 

FFRF welcomes the district action.

“Public schools are constitutionally obligated to be neutral toward religion,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of FFRF. “By circulating—or allowing religious material to be circulated—a school becomes entwined with religiosity of a particular type, to the detriment of students who don’t agree with that particular message.”

This alienates not only non-Christians but also the significant portion of the population (especially in the young demographic) that is nonreligious, Gaylor adds.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has more than 23,000 nonreligious members, including almost 1,000 individuals in Texas.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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