January 21, 2017
A kindergartner’s mother is suing her public school system in West Virginia, asking that it discontinue a 75-year practice of putting kids in Bible classes that violate the U.S. and state constitutions.
The woman, identified as “Jane Doe” in the federal lawsuit backed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says her child will be forced either to take these weekly classes at her Mercer County elementary school or face ostracism as one of the few children who don’t. Her daughter is called “Jamie” in the suit.
“Jamie will either be forced to attend Bible indoctrination classes against the wishes and conscience of Jane Doe, or Jamie will be the only or one of only a few children who do not participate,” the lawsuit says. “Jamie will therefore be made conspicuous by absence, and essentially be identified as a non-Christian or nonbeliever, subjecting Jamie to the risk of ostracism from peers and even school staff.”
A call to Mercer County Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Akers wasn’t immediately returned Friday.
Teresa Russell, another county schools official, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the Bible courses are voluntary, financed by a nonprofit group and that the system’s 19 elementary and middle schools provide alternative courses at the same time.