For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, email@example.com
Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Duncan, OK, April 13, 2015)—Officials at Duncan Public Schools in Duncan, Oklahoma, have responded to a letter sent on April 3 by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center that admonished a school district elementary teacher for distributing Bibles. The school district has assured the legal center that teachers will not be permitted to pass out religious materials to students.
“It is not the place of public schools to promote religion by handing out Bibles,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “We appreciate the school’s willingness to address the issue and to enforce the separation of church and state so that the rights of all students are upheld.”
The letter from the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center was sent to the school district on behalf of a concerned parent, whose child reported that a third-grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School had announced to her class that she would give Gideon New Testament Bibles to any student who wanted one. She then passed out the Bibles at her desk, where nearly every student received one. After seeing so many classmates with Bibles, the child felt peer pressured to take one as well. The letter described these actions by the teacher as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
On Friday, April 10, the school district made written assurances that all teachers in the district had been informed that they must not distribute Bibles or other religious materials to students during class time or while acting in their official capacity as District employees. The district also stated that it would refrain from authorizing or condoning the distribution of Bibles or other religious materials in any of its elementary schools.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.