Young students in Joplin, Missouri have been forced by the Joplin county school district to shut down a morning Bible study after receiving complaints from the American Humanist Association.
The AMA is an organization that says they are “advocates (of) progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists, freethinkers, and the non-religious across the country,” the official website said.
Apparently, however, they don’t believe students are allowed to think freely about the Bible. The middle school Bible study was then suspended because it was out of compliance with school board policy, Joplin Globe reported.
The AHA submitted a letter about the morning prayer in mid-December of last year. It complained that teachers within North Middle School were leading students in prayer and reading scripture during breakfast where they offered free donates to those that participated.
The Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder responded to the letter, saying that after review of the program, the student-initiated activity is actually considered acceptable because it’s volunteer based and it was not promoted or led by a district employee, nor did it interfere with educational activities or use public funds.
The “acceptable” reasoning did not actually apply to children under the new policy, however, which says that only young adults in grades 9-12 are able to organize student run activities. A rule that went into effect in March.
Due to that reason, the district said in a statement released on Friday, “Our staff was unaware of the policy update and its implication for this activity” and “as a result, we have suspended the Bible study as it is currently organized.”
In 2015 the AHA filed a lawsuit against the Joplin School District for having students attend Victory Ministry and Sports Complex as field trips. As of now the case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
Former American Idol contestant, Moriah Peters, can relate to the experience of hiding when it comes to practicing faith in public school.
According to a recent interview with Faithwire, the singer said, “…I was part of a girls Bible study and kind of had, we had an underground meeting I guess you could say, we went to public school, so technically we weren’t suppose to have a Bible study club sort of thing or anything.”
“But once a week a bunch of girls and I met in this really sweet teacher’s room and talked about life and talked about the things that we struggled with in relationships with guys and with family.”
To read more about the status of the school and updates, check out: Missouri School District Says ‘No’ to Middle School Bible Studies.
(H/T The Joplin Globe)