Lawsuit Nixed After Public School Suspends Bible Class

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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A judge threw out a lawsuit calling a public school Bible course into question, because the school suspended teaching the course, according to a Sunday report.

Mercer County schools in West Virginia offered a “Bible in the Schools” program for elementary and middle school students. The program had been popular with both students and parents for decades, reported The Washington Post.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, along with two county residents, sued the district, alleging that the course violates the Constitution.

The lawsuit alleged that Mercer County infringed upon the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, that prohibits government from favoring any one religion. Citing McCollum v. Board of Education, the plaintiffs alleged that public schools could not instigate or sponsor religious expression.

The lawsuit compared Mercer County’s Bible course to Sunday school, claiming the course taught biblical events as fact.

“Bible in the Schools” was a weekly 30-minute for elementary students and 45-minute course middle schoolers in the county.

The lawsuit lists quotes from the courses, including: “If all of the Israelites had chosen to follow the Ten Commandments, think of how safe and happy they would have been” and “So picture Adam being able to crawl up on the back of a dinosaur! He and Eve could have their own personal waterslide! Wouldn’t that be so wild!”

The school district suspended the 2017-2018 iterations of the course to conduct a review that will include feedback from religious leaders, community members, and teachers.

“The Bible in the Schools program of which plaintiffs’ complain is not currently offered nor will it be offered in the future,” David A. Faber, a U.S. District Judge appointed by former president George H.W. Bush, wrote in the opinion, according to WaPo. “Furthermore, should a Bible in the Schools curriculum reemerge, the court has no information before it to determine the content of such a class.”

Faber suggested the court could administer a preliminary injunction if the school district brought back the course.

“Mercer County Schools is grateful to have this unfortunate lawsuit dismissed and remains committed to following the law as it provides diverse educational opportunities to its students,” First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law agency that represented the school district, said in a statement. “The court rightly rejected the notion that teaching students about the Bible is always unconstitutional.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation suggested that the judge should not have dismissed the lawsuit.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the county school district for comment, but received none in time for press.

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