Letter to the editor: Would County Line’s retired publisher defend using the Bible in studies?

By ROB FRISKE | rural Ontario

There has been much ink used the last few weeks in the “Back Talk” section of your paper regarding concerned parents/groups and what curriculum they do or do not want taught in their school district.  Much of the ink you use is disparaging these parents/groups for taking an interest in what is being taught to their children.  

In most cases, the “curriculum” in question has, at best, a “left of center” approach to subjects.  Let me pose a situation that actually happened to my son within the last few years in our N-O-W School District.  He and a friend were in a class that required the students to read a certain amount of chapters/minutes/books in a time frame (I forget what the specific number was, but it isn’t important).  Students could choose ANY type of reading they wanted … some chose comics, some graphic novels, others read actual books … the point is the students could choose for themselves.  My son and his friend chose to read the Bible.  They were told this would not count toward the requirement.  So comic book, yes … Bible, no.  

I realize the time has long past where the Bible could actually be part of a teacher-assigned project, but to not allow it as a students’ CHOICE for reading material in a situation as outlined above?  My question to the editor is, would you use up as much ink defending their right to use the Bible in their studies as you have used promoting the other curriculums you would like to see in our district?  And that question isn’t rhetorical; I’m genuinely interested in the answer. 

Note from “Back Talk” author and retired publisher Karen Parker: As you do not indicate when this occurred, which teacher was involved, or if you took your complaint to the administration, then I assume it may be a hypothetical situation. Were the Bible assigned reading, that would be a clear violation of the separation of church and state as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. 

If it was a discretionary assignment (self-directed), then certainly the Bible is a fine choice. I think then you would agree that the Koran or the “1619 Project” would be equally as acceptable.

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