Gideons got the boot but students still got rights

Saturday, January 13, 2018
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Bible 1An elementary school in Kansas stopped a Bible giveaway after a complaint but an attorney says there are proper, legal ways to do so.

Herrington Elementary allowed the well-known Gideons to set up a table and invited students to take a free Bible, but the American Humanist Association, an atheist group, complained and the school backed down. 

Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute says the school might have crossed a legal line but he tells OneNewsNow that doesn't mean Bibles aren’t allowed.

One option is for the Gideons to pass out the Bibles on a public sidewalk, he says, or the students themselves can pass them out.

"Students can distribute Bibles the same way they can distribute invitations to birthday parties or anything else," Dacus advises.

Gideons International is known worldwide for distributing free Bibles, including in schools, but in recent years atheist groups quickly take action when they catch wind of religious activities, accusing public schools of violating the Establishment Clause and threatening to sue.

In the case of Herrington Elementary, bowever, a professor of constitutional law told the Kansas City Star that courts have ruled against Bible giveaways to elementary-age children due to their impressionable age. Junior high and high school students are not covered by those rulings, he said. 

OneNewsNow reported in a Jan. 4 story that Louisiana's attorney general is offering the "Student Rights Review" handbook for public school students to advise them about their religious rights while on school grounds. The booklet's simple-to-read Q-and-A format addresses distributing religious materials, praying, and sharing their faith with others and in the classroom. 

Dacus says his organization also offers their booklet, "Reclaiming Your School," which explains how to legally evangelize public schools. 

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