Tenaha ISD releases statement concerning Bibles handout

Source: FRFF
Source: FRFF

Tenaha ISD has released a statement concerning a Wisconsin-based group's complaint that the school allowed Bibles to be distributed on the property.

The school's law firm, Karczewski/Bradshaw LLP, released the statement and said it came from Tenaha ISD.

The school claims the Gideons submitted a request to the campus principal and were allowed to distribute the Bibles on campus during non-instructional time.

"Tenaha local policy establishes a limited public forum for the distribution of non-school related materials under the First Amendment," the statement read. "Legal policy confirms the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that when a limited public forum has been established, religious literature must be allowed to the same extent as other non-school literature. Tenaha ISD does not discriminate against or show preference to any religion and will continue to respect the First Amendment rights of its students, staff, and community members."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation issued a press release on Wednesday, complaining Tenaha ISD allowed Gideons to hand out Bibles to fifth-graders.

The following is copied directly from the press release:

"The Gideons were allowed into a Tenaha Independent School District school to distribute bibles to fifth graders during the school day on Wednesday, May 17. The administrative assistant to the school superintendent, Brenda Lucas, actually provided promotional photos of the event to a local website (Shelby County Today), which carried a report on the whole affair.

"It is unconstitutional for public school districts to permit the Gideon Society to distribute bibles as part of the public school day," FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover writes to Tenaha Independent School District Superintendent Scott Tyner. "Courts have uniformly held that the distribution of bibles to students at public schools during instructional time is prohibited." 

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