An elementary school in Flowood, Mississippi is not only allowing the Gideons to come in and distribute Bibles to 5th grade students, they instructed the teachers to take their classes through the lobby where the group was set up with a table. The American Humanist Association has sent a letter to the school district.
The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center has sent a letter to officials at Rankin County School District in Flowood, Mississippi, regarding Northwest Rankin Elementary School’s actions in assisting the Gideons in distributing Bibles to elementary school students.
On October 7, 2014, the principal of the elementary school sent an email instructing all fifth grade teachers to walk their students through the lobby where Gideon Bibles were being distributed. The letter claims that by assisting the Gideons in distributing Bibles to a captive audience of elementary school students, the school district is sending the unconstitutional message that it endorses religion over non-religion and Christianity in particular.
“The school district’s actions seriously infringe upon the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and violate the terms of a court-ordered consent decree,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, in reference to a consent decree entered into by the school on November 22, 2013, in the legal center’s case of M. B. v. Rankin County School District et al. “In the consent decree, the school district admitted that it violated the First Amendment rights of our client and agreed not to violate the Establishment Clause in the future,” Miller explained.
That’s right, this same school district was already caught violating the First Amendment in multiple ways in order to proselytize students and already signed a consent decree saying they would stop doing so. Apparently they’ve learned little from that experience. The AHA letter says their new actions “demonstrate a complete disregard for the Consent Decree, or worse, an intentional unwillingness to comply with its terms.” I’m sure there will also be a note to the judge in that case asking that the school be held in contempt for failing to live up to the terms of that decree.