FFRF Letter Shelves Library Bible Club

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Freedom From Religion FoundationImage via WikipediaA single letter from the FFRF to a Bellwood, Pa middle school closes the book on a bible club. The principal and school's attorney quickly respond to the issue:

School says it will drop Bible/Library Club
September 20, 2010

The Bible/Library Club that was a homeroom activity at Bellwood-Antis Middle School in Bellwood, Pa., has been dropped by the public school district after a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a parent.

FFRF sent a letter Sept. 13 about an Aug. 30 flier that was sent home with students listing the club as one of four that students could participate in during the first-semester homeroom activity period. The other three are chorus, band and cartooning.

The description for the Bible/Library Club, supervised by librarian Susan Crawford, says: "Students will assist in the various library activities of organizing and returning books to the shelves and creating bulletin boards. Students may participate in various 'Christ' centered activities such as devotional readings, Bible study, prayer and games."
FFRF received a letter from Principal Donald Wagner dated Sept. 14:  "The club name has been changed. The new name of the club is Library Club. There is no reference to the Bible and there will not by an 'Christ' centered activities, devotionals, prayer or Bible study."

That letter was followed up by one dated Sept. 15 from David Andrews, a school district attorney. "The superintendent was not aware that this club was being conducted during the school day." Andrews said the district "has taken immediate steps" to discontinue it during the school day and will not allow it to be led or supervised by a teacher.

"The district will permit the Bible/Library Club to meet before or after school as a student-run organization," Andrews said.
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