And here we have yet another teacher who thinks that part of her job is pushing her religion on her students. A teacher in Duncan, Oklahoma distributed Bibles to her students last week and the American Humanist Association’s Apignini Humanist Legal Center has written a letter to the school about it.
Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to officials at Duncan Public Schools and Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Duncan, Oklahoma, protesting classroom Bible distribution by an elementary school teacher.
According to the letter, on April 2, 2015, during the period observed by Christians as Holy Week, a third-grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School passed out Gideon Bibles to her students during class time. The teacher made an announcement that she would give Bibles to students who wanted one, and she then handed out the Bibles at her desk. Nearly all of the students went to her desk to receive one.
The American Humanist Association was informed of the issue by a concerned parent whose child, a student in the class, unexpectedly came home with a Bible. After seeing so many other students take Bibles, the child in question felt pressured to do so as well. In response, the child’s mother contacted the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center to report this violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
“What makes this particular incident so egregious is the impressionable nature of elementary school students, who are more likely to see their public school’s involvement in disseminating religious materials as an endorsement of that religion,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Numerous cases make clear that public schools cannot assist the Gideons in distributing Bibles to school children.”
“There can be no question that this teacher and this school were engaged in the promotion of Christianity,” said David Niose, the American Humanist Association’s legal director. “This kind of activity is a clear violation of the principle of church-state separation.”
Why does this keep happening? Because 99% of the time, it isn’t caught. That same pressure that makes a kid feel like they have to follow the crowd also usually keeps that kid’s parents from complaining about it for fear of making their child and themselves a target for inevitable hostility from the local community.