Local News

Cumberland Schools Crack Down on Bibles in Class

Posted November 20, 2007

— A complaint from a parent prompted Cumberland County Schools to remind all elementary school principals Monday that outside groups aren't allowed to distribute Bibles in the schools.

Geri Weaver, the mother of a student at E.E. Miller Elementary School in Fayetteville, notified the American Civil Liberties Union after a stack of New Testaments were made available in her son's classroom on Nov. 9.

"We have a bible in our house. My son can read it any time he wants. I just don't think it's the school's place to distribute and endorse religious texts," Weaver said.

The books have the imprint of the Gideons, an international group known for placing Bibles in hotel rooms, but it was unclear whether a school employee or outside organization placed them in the classroom.

Miller Elementary Principal Tonya Page couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

David Phillips, the attorney for the school district, issued a memo Monday to all elementary school principals, reminding them that current law allows the distribution of religious tracts in public schools only to high school students and even that is subject to certain requirements.

"Distribution of the Bible or other proselytizing texts and materials in the elementary school environment is an activity that should not be endorsed or allowed in the school building," Phillips wrote in his memo.

He cited a 1998 ruling by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers North Carolina, that said elementary school students are "particularly impressionable" to such texts.

"We are a public school and we certainly have to adhere to the law,” said Wanda McPhaul, public information officer for the Cumberland County School System.

Gideons told WRAL that the group has a long-standing policy of not commenting to the media on such issues.


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  • yukonjohn3 Nov 22, 2007

    out with the Bibles and in with the condoms and birth control pills.....

    I am changing my mind now tmedlin. I think yes, keep the bible in the shcools. Also mandate the Koran, the Satanic bible and have the children exposed to it all.

  • margeri Nov 22, 2007

    Wow, Bobbie... you're one smart lady! I'm so glad I chose you as the Princess' GodMommy!


  • weatherchic1234 Nov 22, 2007

    Just like any religious text, news articles also fall victim to a person's individual interpretation. The facts stated in the literature are not recognized by all readers, who's minds are sometimes made up before reading it (we hear what we want to hear). For the record, please note that Geri is not offended by the bible (she has one in her home); rather, she was offended by the asst principal's unprofessional response and the non-enforcement of current policy. Distribution of religious material for our elementary school children is simply not a matter for public schools(already determined by the courts years ago); that is the parents' job. However, the public schools could most assuredly use additional quality math, science, history, and English books, as well as other school supplies, to provide our children with the best education possible. Improving our children's reading comprehension levels will allow them to make good decisions based on facts, instead of interpretation.

  • One Good Dad Nov 22, 2007

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • wwyoud Nov 22, 2007

    thank reason that you're an x-teacher! Such hatred and immorality is the primary reason many of us view "Jesus freaks" as something to push out to a commune and out of our lives.

  • NoToIllegals Nov 22, 2007

    If the truth be known, it would take an idiot to be offended by a bible, for goodness sakes.

    Geri is an attention getter, drama queen of the worst kind.

    We should all mail her Korans...........just flood her with them.

    Lord, help us ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Nov 22, 2007

    I still think the record was broken for number of replies, LOL

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • elcid89 Nov 22, 2007

    "elcid...ten till four in the morning (you're 5 hours ahead right?), what are you doing up??? Go to sleep, man!!!"

    6 hours ahead. It was almost 5am. I pretty much always wake up around 5 so that I can go running. Nothing unusual.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Enjoy the day!

  • Obscurite Nov 21, 2007

    elcid...ten till four in the morning (you're 5 hours ahead right?), what are you doing up??? Go to sleep, man!!!


  • elcid89 Nov 21, 2007

    "gets me that the Supreme Court could rule against the very mean that wrote the Constitution...No wonder Ol' Tom called them,,the most Despotic Branch of govt..!!"

    Of course, his solution was to have 3 branches all determining independently what the meaning of the Constitution was, as well as determining independently when their decisions could be appealed and when they couldn't.

    Can you imagine the chaos such a situation would result in? Imagine a scenario where an issue is addressed by multiple branches of the government, which reach different conclusions as to the meaning of the Constitution as it applies to the scenario, and all declare their decision ultimate and final. In that situation, we have 3 final and different meanings of the Constitution. Which one do we as citizens follow? Whichever one we like the best?

    No sir, sorry. In order for a Constitution to mean anything at all, it must have a final arbiter. How would you propose it be handled?