GROVE, Okla., (UPI) — Grove, Okla., school officials say they were threatened with lawsuits if they allowed a religious group to offer free Bibles to elementary students.
The issue was discussed at a school board meeting Tuesday attended by about 100 people, the majority there to show support for the longstanding practice by Gideons International to distribute pocket-sized copies of the New Testament to fifth-grade students, the Tulsa ( Okla.) World reported Thursday.
School superintendent Sandy Coaly said Wednesday, “There were people that wanted us to lose our jobs for allowing the Gideons to pass out Bibles last year. We were told if we allowed them to be passed out, the school would be sued.”
She did not identify those making the threat.
Attorney Robert Plunk addressed the meeting and pointed out the local Rotary Club offers dictionaries to third-grade students, suggesting Bibles should be distributed in the same manner.
Local pastor Rev. Tony Wisdom told the five-member school board a minority view should not override the majority’s, that other faiths should be permitted to distribute religious literature at schools and pointed out no student is forced to accept a Bible.
“We are working with the school to work out a compromise not to break any laws,” said Ken Black, Delaware County, Okla., representative of Gideons International.
The board did not address the Bible policy at the meeting, the newspaper said.