Parent outraged, says Bible handed out at school
WHITWELL, MARION COUNTY (WRCB) - What would you do if a stranger, without permission, made a religious book available to your child at a public school?
It happened at Whitwell Middle School, and one outraged parent contacted Channel 3 via email. He says he's not mad the that his child has a Bible, it's the process that is upsetting him.
"Me and my wife were both raised Christian, I try to raise my kids that way. But, it should be a decision that's left up to the parent, the child, and God," said Eric Wooden, father of two students.
Wooden saw his child reading a Bible after school on Tuesday, he had no problem with that until his child said it was passed out at Whitwell Middle School by two men the vice principal brought in.
That he had a problem with, and contacted Channel 3.
"In this day and age, with impressionable children, every parent monitors what their children watch on TV and listen to, it was just done without my consent," says Wooden.
Marion County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Griffith says it's an annual event for all fifth graders, and that the Bibles were not passed out to students, just left for them to take if they wanted.
"On probably three different occasions they were told it's optional, and if you want one, they're made available," said Dr. Griffith.
We spoke off camera with one of the men who brought the books to the school, and he also said, they did put Bibles out, and they stressed that taking one home is optional.
We also spoke with ACLU who said doing this raises constitutional questions and jeopardizes religious freedom for all families.
When asked if any other religion would be allowed to drop literature off at his schools, Dr. Griffith said they would oblige.
"I think you have to be open to it, to be honest. If you let one in, you're probably obligated to let others as well," says Dr. Griffith.
Griffith says he doesn't see a lot of parents having a problem with what's going on, but he's open to listen to any.
ACLU says if you have a problem, contact them through their web site.