Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oklahoma AG Promotes Right of Schools To Have Neutral Policy Allowing Bible Distribution

As reported by Raw Story, on Friday attorneys for the Duncan, Oklahoma Public Schools responded (full text of letter) to an earlier letter from the Appignani Humanist Legal Center complaining that an elementary school teacher had offered Bibles to her students. The school system will advise teachers and administrators not to hand out Bibles or other religious material and not encourage students during class time to take religious materials from others.  It will stop any distributions of Bibles at elementary schools during school hours or immediately before or after, though reserves the right to permit distributions at high schools.

Meanwhile yesterday Oklahoma's Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced a new program "to defend religious freedom and provide support to Oklahoma schools facing intimidation. The assistance includes creating a statewide training program to equip superintendents, teachers, parents, school board members, and others to know their rights."  In a letter to school superintendents (full text) that focuses on complaints that had been made by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Pruitt said in part:
Oklahomans do not need to live in fear that their government has become hostile to religion. Schools have a right to enact neutral policies that allow all viewpoints on religion to thrive. As the Attorney General of Oklahoma, I will not stand idly by while out-of-state organizations bully you or any other official in this State into restricting the religious freedom the Founders of this country held dear.