Bible Distribution in Public Elementary School

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ESL_Teacher_CH, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Feb 23, 2018

    I agree that the bible is not "banned" in American public schools. As I wrote earlier, it is unconstitutional to legislate the bible as religious in the first place.

    I disagree with your assumption that grown adults may not distribute religious texts to a captive audience. Where schools get their authority to ban certain books, be they religious texts or comic books is from the Tinker vs Des Moines decision which ruled that the school "must be able to show that [their] action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint".

    What we have here is not the school banning anything, so there's no problem and certainly no violations of constitutional rights of students.
     
  2. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Feb 23, 2018

    You have an amusing sense of legal analysis, Belch.

    I don't believe it's unconstitutional per se to legislate merely that the bible is a religious text. There are yearly National bible week resolutions, for example -- they don't typically get legally challenged because they have no real impact, but if they were challenged I seriously doubt it would be a dispute over whether the bible is a religious text.

    There are huge differences in Tinker that keep it from being applicable here. Tinker was regarding whether the school could ban student expression. It isn't about what the school is allowed to express. Under your conception of Tinker, the school could start every day with the Lord's prayer, because to do so isn't banning anything.

    Lemon v Kurtzman regards what schools are allowed to do, and requires a legitimate secular purpose. Personally I think the courts in general are pretty forgiving about what "legitimate" means, so considering it as "plausible purpose" may be more accurate.
     
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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 23, 2018

    My guess is that instructional hours here are defined as whatever hours the school has identified that they are responsible for the children.

    Most schools in my experience define this slightly after the final bell has rang and slight before the starting bell has rung.

    Or it could mean for any hours that the school is open.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 23, 2018

    Not an assumption. It's the law.

    As someone else mentioned, just because you don't think something is unconstitutional doesn't make it so. Our government isn't subject to your personal version of alternate reality.
     
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  5. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Feb 23, 2018

    I have not seen the ACLU public ally backing up Christians. Maybe they do, I would be interested to see this ACLU Guide to forming a Bible study group though. There is another group that seems more slanted to conservatism a nd that is the ACLJ. I'm not very familiar with them, but I know the ACLU has been painted in a bad light in recent years among conservatives.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Feb 23, 2018

    So you are saying you really don't know.
     
  7. RussianBlueMommy

    RussianBlueMommy Comrade

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    Feb 23, 2018

    Our school defines instructional time as classroom time. Lunch, Breaks, and before/after classes/between classes is not considered instructional time.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Feb 23, 2018

    The other issue is within the school walls vs. outside while on school grounds.

    I am SO GLAD I pulled up the legal precedent so I can add to the conversation rationally and factually. Emotionally, I'd be all over the place.
     
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  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 23, 2018

    I admit that this is a fuzzy line.

    Here is a link from the FFRF that recommends people report any instance of Bibles being handed out on school property or during "school hours".

    https://ffrf.org/outreach/item/14034-bible-distribution-in-public-schools

    From the standpoint of the state avoiding the establishment of a religion it would stand that this behavior would be prohibited for any time the state is responsible for the children's supervision (including lunches and breaks).
     
  10. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 23, 2018

    State and Church MUST be separate, to my knowledge.
    If there is a person who is handing out bibles and it is not appropriate for the type of school, the person should be asked to cease the activity or escorted off the property.
    This is illegal, as far as I am concerned.
    (Although, while this is a strict policy, banning the holy bible in school is censorship.)

    If it was a book that was about the bible, then this would usually be acceptable (but only in middle school and high school).
     
  11. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Feb 23, 2018

    Particularly relevant to this thread...ACLU defends rights of students to distribute religious material

    https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-supports-right-iowa-students-distribute-christian-literature-school

    Here's the guide
    https://www.aclu.org/other/statement-bible-public-schools-first-amendment-guide

    For what it's worth, though, I think you're correct that the ACLU has skewed more liberal in it's cases, but I think realistically that's because of the perception that's been created. If conservatives have a problem them typically go to someplace like the ACLJ or the liberty council even when the ACLU would also support their cause.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
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  12. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Feb 23, 2018

    I suspect a legal determination of instructional time would not turn primarily on what the school called instructional time, but rather on other factors. A court wouldn't be find fond of the idea of a school simply defining it's practices as legal (or, for that matter, defining permissible practices as illegal).
     
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  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 24, 2018

    Somewhat unrelated: why aren't there "legal studies" classes in high school? Or are there? This is rather fun.
     
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  14. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Feb 26, 2018

    Students - yes. The Gideons are older gentlemen. It is like prayer in schools. It can be student led.

    I live in the bible belt and we have the Gideons visit our schools. We don't send the bible home with the low level, non-verbal SPE student who is Muslim in our building. We know his parents wouldn't approve and he can't read it anyway. If we had any parent say "don't send that bible home", then we would not send it home.
     
  15. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    What would your school do if the temple of Satan wanted to come in to give away materials?
     

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