OK School Will Stop Bible Distribution. Kind Of.

An attorney for the Duncan Public Schools in Oklahoma has responded to a letter from the American Humanist Association about an elementary school teacher who handed out Bibles to her class during Easter week. They say it won’t happen again — kind of.

Duncan Public Schools responded on Friday with assurances that school staff would abide by federal law.

“The District understand that it has an obligation to follow the law set forth by our federal courts on this matter,” attorney Scott Stone explained. “The District understand that its obligation to obey the law exists whether the District or its employees agree with all aspects of the constitutional law established by the courts.”

To that end, Stone said that teachers were being informed that they could not distribute or pressure students to take Bibles or other religious material. And that teachers were not allowed to discourage or encourage any religious beliefs while in the performance of their duties.

“The District and its agents will refrain from leading, authorizing or condoning the distribution of Bibles or other religious material at any elementary school during school hours, or immediately before or immediately after school hours,” Stone insisted.

But here’s the catch. For some reason, they think they might be able to get away with this at higher grade levels:

However, the district reserves the right to allow such distribution of Bibles or other religious materials insofar as it concerns secondary students.

Wrong answer. It is illegal in any public school at any grade.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chiroptera

    However, the district reserves the right to allow such distribution of Bibles or other religious materials insofar as it concerns secondary students.

    Because the abstinence only sex education classes need a text book.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    High School’s fine. Nothing brings teenagers in better than having an authority figure push it at them, even more so if he raps about how cool it is.

  • Richard Smith

    OK School Will Stop Bible Distribution

    But a better school would never have started…

  • Alverant

    And the state’s AG is defending the teacher’s “religious liberty” to force her religion on her students.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/04/oklahoma-ags-bible-defense-may-have-opened-elementary-schools-to-satanist-literature/

  • John Pieret

    According to the letter, as to distribution in secondary schools:

    Any such distribution shall only be permitted after a complete review and prior approval by the District’s Superintendent and the District’s legal counsel to ensure that it is done without coercion and in a constitutionally acceptable manner.

    I suppose they are thinking about one of those “limited open forum” distributions. Maybe they should discuss how well that went in that Florida school district after the Satanists asked to distribute their coloring book.

  • peterh

    Constitutional law may be all well and good, but Not In My Back Yard.

    /snark

  • caseloweraz

    I think it’s time for Oklahoma’s AG to call his opposite number in Tennessee and have a little chat.

  • abb3w

    @0, Ed Brayton

    It is illegal in any public school at any grade.

    If it’s an opportunity exclusively allowed to teachers, then I suspect that federal courts might agree. Contrariwise, it looks like the exact wording in the letter may mean they’re merely leaving open the possibility of authorizing the distribution of Bibles or other religious materials by outside groups, which based on examples from (EG) Florida appears to be legal provided that standard “limited public forum” rules apply — particularly, that all groups have the opportunity to distribute whatever religious materials of their choosing.

    Hopefully, the Satanic Temple will be applying soon.

  • BobApril

    @8, abb3w – teachers have a privileged place for such distribution, what with the inherent permission to be on campus and the chance to schedule instruction around the event. Additionally, they’re government employees. It seems that either or both would make it illegal for them even if outside groups are allowed in addition to the teachers.

  • Michael Heath

    Teachers are the government.

  • coragyps

    Woot!

    My two older children went to dear old Woodrow Wilson Elementary of Duncan, Oklahoma!

  • John Pieret
  • frankgturner

    Maybe it is a good idea, particularly if you can get them to actually read it. As many have observed, one of the discouragement to follow Xtianity comes from actually reading the Bible.

  • anubisprime

    All of these clown centers know that they are defacto breaking the law and flaunting the constitution they all run to when it suits and they get a hard on for when handy to be patriotic…or more accurately to be seen to be patriotic..

    They are fully aware of it, they choose to do it then dodge and duck and dive if they get caught.

    After all it is for jeebus…that is their guiding ‘principle’ and the laws of man and country will always be twisted, broken or usurped if they happen to clash with their own egotistical desires and wishes with regards to risible delusional claptrap.

  • anubisprime

    John Pieret @ 12

    The Satanists are already on the job

    ‘Excellent’ …As Monty Burns would opine!

  • Anri

    “… but you didn’t say anything about purple dragons!”

  • samgardner

    I bet among high school students the Satanic coloring book is FAR more popular than the Bible.

    For some reason schools that flout civil rights and are then called on it seem to think that the provision of civil rights after that is a negotiation, and they can still violate civil rights but just by not as much.

    Though here I’d agree: it looks like the school is trying to set a precedent for a limited public forum. I’d be happy to see them stick to that even through the distribution of Satanic coloring books.

  • chilidog99

    I bet that if you were to go to a school and put a pile of 50 bibles on a table along side a pile of 50 satanist coloring books, the there would be a lot more bibles left at the end of the day.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Paging the satanists, please come to the white courtesy phone!!! There is a school that needs you to come hand out literature, since apparently that kind of thing is welcome. Satanists, please to white courtesy phone for some trolling. …

  • abb3w

    @9, BobApril

    teachers have a privileged place for such distribution, what with the inherent permission to be on campus and the chance to schedule instruction around the event. Additionally, they’re government employees. It seems that either or both would make it illegal for them even if outside groups are allowed in addition to the teachers.

    Sorry, I apparently wasn’t clear enough. Yes, allowing teachers to distribute is fundamentally problematic. However, I don’t think the Okie AG was necessarily trying to leave that open, but merely indicating that schools would still be able to allow outside neutrally vetted distributions at the high school level, and not trying to indicate teachers at such schools would be allowed.

    I think the question of whether high school teachers would also be able to distribute in schools where outside groups may could be a bit of a gray zone. As a political question, I don’t think they should be allowed to; as a legal question, they might have a shot (after protracted litigation) at getting five SCOTUS votes to say they legally may. Of the five plausible S.T.A.R.K. justices, Kennedy would seem most likely to instead say they mayn’t; however, re-reading his dissent in Allegheny v ACLU leaves me unconvinced of the certainty of his rejecting the notion.

  • jnorris

    I hope the Oklahoma teachers are distributing those little green bound New Testaments to the high school students. Then the AHA can tell the kids the pages make great (free) joint wrappers. Win-Win.