ACLU seeks to prohibit Bible
distribution in grade school
ST. LOUIS - A southeast Missouri
school district should be barred from allowing a Bible
giveaway program to fifth-graders, the American Civil
Liberties Union said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in St. Louis,
seeks an injunction prohibiting South Iron Elementary School
in Annapolis from allowing Gideons International into the
classroom to distribute the Bibles. Tony Rothert, legal
director with ACLU of Eastern Missouri, said the suit was
filed on behalf of two sets of parents from the district.
"The primary objection here is the Bibles are presented
during class time in a public school," Rothert said.
School board president Jim Scaggs said he was unaware of the
lawsuit and declined comment. A spokesman for Gideons
International also declined comment.
For years, the school in the town of 300 residents quietly
allowed the Gideons to hand out Bibles to children in the
fifth grade. Last fall, the school board voted 4-3 to allow
the Bible distribution practice to continue.
The Bibles were given to children in October, and another
giveaway isn't expected until the 2006-07 school year,