ACLU of Kentucky investigates “Bible Literacy” Courses
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- There’s concern by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky that some schools are turning classrooms into pulpits with their “Bible Literacy” classes.
The ACLU filed open records requests asking for policies and curriculum for bible literacy classes in all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts.
After getting them, the ACLU says six districts are teaching classes that cross the line.
“It was pretty clear from the documents that we received pursuant to our open records act request that courses were being taught in ways that were not academic or secular but were in fact devotional or even proselytizing which is not an appropriate way to teach the bible in public schools,” said Heather Gatnarek with the ACLU of Kentucky.
In other words, the ACLU says those schools are preaching, not teaching.
The ACLU says its investigation found teachers in Barren, Mccracken, Letcher, Wayne, Lewis and Whitley counties were using the bible to teach religious life lessons.
Some even using sunday school worksheets for class assignments and requiring students memorize biblical text.
“It has always been our position that religious education is best kept for parents and for families and churches, not for public schools,” said Gatnarek.
The teaching of bible classes in public schools has been allowed since last spring when Governor Matt Bevin signed the “Bible Literacy Bill” into law.
But the wording of the bill is vague and it is up to Kentucky’s Department of Education to come up with standards and guides for these types of classes, something the ACLU says the department is still in the process of doing and is one of the reasons the ACLU launched this investigation.
“We wanted them to see the types of courses that are being offered that are problematic in the hopes that as the standards are produced and are available to public schools around the state that the department of education could offer clear concise and controlled guidance about how to teach these classes appropriately,” said Gatnarek.
The ACLU sent its finding to the Department of Education.
Those with the ACLU do want to make clear during their investigation they did find many “Bible Literacy” classes that were not problematic and did follow the law.