Kansas School Bans Handing Out Bibles After Anti-Religion Group Threatens Lawsuit

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A Kansas public school district has said it will no longer allow the Gideons to distribute Bibles after an anti-religion group threatened to sue.

The dispute started Nov. 4 when the Gideons continued their annual tradition of visiting Seitz Elementary School in Fort Riley, Kansas, and left Bibles on a table in the hallway where students could pick them up. The parents of a 9-year-old fourth grade girl reached out to the atheist American Humanist Association, that then threatened to take legal action on the school district if it did not immediately agree to stop allowing the Bible distribution.

“The Bible distribution made the student feel extremely uncomfortable; she also felt that the school was pushing religion on her,” the AHA, which says the 9 year-old is an atheist, said in the complaint letter.

The AHA said facilitating Bible distribution violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The AHA sent the threat Nov. 10, and, in return, Geary County School District fired off a three-sentence response Nov. 13 stating it would “no longer facilitate the Gideons in distributing Bibles in our school district.”

The AHA gave the school district seven days to respond to “avoid the necessity of litigation.”

“We’re pleased with the school’s commitment to the First Amendment and protecting public students’ right to learn in an environment free from state-endorsed religious influence,” Monica Miller, senior counsel with the American Humanist Association‘s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement.

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