Back in December, I posted about all the legal violations taking place at Delta Middle School in Colorado.
Here’s the situation: Students in a social studies class were taken to the library to do some work. When they arrived, their teacher told them there were bibles on a table in the main doorway, and they could pick one up as they left.
According to the District’s own policy on distributing non-curricular material, here’s what went wrong.
The policy says material cannot “be distributed in any classroom of any building then being occupied by a regularly-scheduled class.” Well, this was going on inside of the library where a class was taking place.
The policy says materials can only be given out “one-half hour before school and/or during regularly scheduled lunch periods and/or 15 minutes after the close of school.” This took place during the school day and not during a lunch period.
The teacher supposedly said to kids, “There’s bibles and they are free if you want one.” You can debate whether or not that’s a form of coercion. You can also debate whether a book that says Jews and Muslims and atheists are going to hell constitutes literature that “attacks” non-Christian groups.
Finally, the policy says “Students may not be used as the agents for distribution of such materials without the written consent of the student’s parent.” However, as soon as the students began leaving the library, they began pressuring their classmates to take one, effectively making them “agents of distribution.”
When one student didn’t — she’s the one who told her mother about this, which is why we know about it at all — look what happened:
The student who did not take a bible was confronted by her classmates about why she didn’t take one, and the classmates started pressuring her to feel ashamed for not conforming to Christian beliefs.
Basically, the District did everything wrong in the way they conducted this Bible distribution.
Anne Landman, who first posted about this problem on her website, pointed out that District officials refused to admit any wrongdoing:
Principal [Jennifer] Lohrberg denied that any violations had occurred. She even assured the concerned parent all was done in accordance with school board policy and the bible giveaway had been approved by the District’s lawyers.
After being brushed off by Principal Lohrberg, the parent called the Delta County School District Assistant Superintendent, who similarly insisted the bible distribution was in accordance with District policy and the school was doing nothing wrong by making the bibles available. The superintendent suggested the concerned parent take the matter up with the School Board.
FFRF sent multiple requests asking the District to end the distributions… to no avail. The District says this did nothing wrong and the Bible giveaways will continue.
So you know what comes next.
Everyone say hello to The Satanic Temple coloring books:
“The School District is not required to maintain this open forum and is free to close it rather than allow FFRF to distribute materials,” FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel wrote in a March 3 letter to the district. “We do not think schools should be a battleground for religious ideas. But when schools allow the Gideons to prey on children, their message of eternal damnation for any who don’t believe in their God must be countered.”
Remember: Orange County (Florida) schools tried to block atheists from giving away literature like this… and failed. It cost taxpayers approximately $90,000 in legal fees.
As long as Delta County officials say yes to the Bible, they legally have to say yes to the Satanic coloring book and “It’s Okay to Not Believe in God!”
FFRF adds that they’d rather see the open forum closed that having their literature handed out. (The group also notes there have been reports of incidents of bullying against non-religious students at the school.)
This is also just the latest in a long line of legal violations by the District:
Other incidents of religious proselytizing reported at Delta Middle School over the last year alone have included school staff mandating all middle school students attend a Christian religious play, students in the DMS drama club being forced to attend a Christian-themed musical performance while on a field trip to Denver last spring, and use of free doughnuts to coerce students to attend morning prayers led by a DMS teacher.
It’ll be nice to see all that interrupted with a visit from Satan.
(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were posted earlier)