Iowa School District Revises Flawed Religion Policy

An Iowa public school has agreed to revise a flawed religion-in-schools policy that Americans United had warned was unconstitutional.


SpencerSchool District officials originally were considering a proposal to offer a Bible course using material from the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, a North Carolina-based Religious Right outfit. A course that studies the “strength and weaknesses” of evolution was also put forward.


Moreover, the school district said graduation speeches would not be regulated on religious content and teachers would be able to answer questions about their personal faith.


Americans United wrote to school officials on July 16 and asked them to reject this problematic policy. The school district agreed and issued a second draft of the policy in early September, which is currently being reviewed by the board and the community. 


The new draft explicitly states that if religion is discussed, teachers “must foster knowledge about religion, not indoctrination into religion; it should be academic, not devotional or testimonial; it should promote awareness of religion, not sponsor its practice; it should inform students about diversity of religious views rather than impose one particular view; and it should promote understanding of different religious views as well as respect for the rights of persons who hold such views.”


Superintendent Greg Ebeling said that the board will consider many drafts of the policy before conducting a final vote.