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DETROIT NEWS: Howell School Board Avoids Question of Bible Class

January 9, 2007

Detroit, Michigan – January 9, 2007

Board quiet on Bible class
by Valerie Olander

HOWELL — A Howell school board member tried to advance a proposal Monday night to offer a Bible class as an elective at Howell High School, but failed to get any support.

Board member Wendy Day suggested forwarding the issue to the district’s social studies and literature curriculum committees. The class would focus on the Bible as literature and from a historical perspective.

“These are great conversations to have,” said board member Jeanne Clum. “But we have something coming down the pike that is huge,” she said, referring to state budget cuts.

About two dozen residents and representatives from four national organizations weighed in on the subject. Board members and residents voiced outrage at “outsiders” weighing in on the discussion.

“We get more complaints and calls from the media about the Howell School District’s pattern of hostility toward traditional Judeo-Christian values than all the other school districts in the state combined,” said Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan.

LaRae Munk, an attorney from the National Council on Bible Curriculum on Public Schools, which designed the Bible class proposed by parent Tim Thatcher, told the board the class was designed to uphold constitutional challenge.

Michigan Atheist State Director Arlene Marie and Hal Downs, of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, are planning to voice opposition to the material.

“I attend church three times a week, but I don’t think school is the right place to teach Bible study,” said parent Valerie Webster.

“I just want to make sure this gets a fair shake,” she said.

The K12 Social Studies Curriculum Committee will review the issue April 24 since no recommendation was made Monday.

You can read the Detroit News article here.

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