There is more than one brand of spirituality, and school districts should not be promoting one over the other, a pagan mother said of the bibles that her son’s school gave out to interested students.
Her son’s interest wasn’t the problem, said Ginger Strivelli, who practices Witchcraft. He picked the book up voluntarily when it was offered, as opposed to having it foisted on him. It was the fact that when she brought pagan texts to North Windy Ridge intermediate school in Weaverville, North Carolina, they were not accepted for similar distribution. Moreover, Strivelli told Fox News, this happened after the principal told her that any donated religious texts would be made available to students.
“Schools should not be giving out one religion’s materials and not others,” Strivelli told Fox News.
At issue was a stack of Bibles delivered to the school office by Gideons International. School staff told students they could come grab copies if they were interested, Fox News said.
The flap has led to a possible change in policy that the school board will discuss on February 2.
“Buncombe County School officials are currently reviewing relevant policies and practices with school board attorneys,” the district announced in a statement quoted by Fox News. “During this review period, no school in the system will be accepting donations of materials that could be viewed as advocating a particular religion or belief.”
A similar controversy is unfolding concurrently on Prince Edward Island, Canada, where Gideons International has been giving out bibles to schools for nearly 50 years. An irate father called the school after his daughter brought home an opt-out form for him to sign.
“I’ll be held responsible for my child’s belief system, not the schools,” the father, Michael Arsenault, told CBC News. “I’m not against religion, any form or fashion… I just don’t like how the schools are getting involved in handing out these religious books.”
Prince Edward Island school district officials do not plan to change their long-standing policy of giving Gideon bibles out to fifth graders, according to media reports.