The controversial issue of distributing outside religious or political materials at Orange County schools came to a final vote Tuesday night.
In a 7-1 vote the School Board voted to support a new policy that would not allow any outside religious or political material to be distributed at schools – one board member calling the issue “a distraction.”
Until Tuesday, Bibles and atheist material could be handed out by outside parties – but the turning point was a Satanic coloring book called “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities” from a group called The Satanic Temple. It made school officials take a second look at the district’s policy.
“It’s just disruptive to the education environment. We simply believe that religious instruction belongs in the church or belongs in the home – not in the public school,” said Orange County School Chairman Bill Sublette.
However, organizations like The Fellowship of Christian Athletes can still distribute material because they’re student or school-led.
“It’s positive that religious materials will not be distributed. I think that’s what they wanted and that’s what we wanted all along, however, this policy sets them up for litigation. I sure hope it doesn’t happen,” said David Williamson with The Central Florida Free Thought Community.
Tuesday night’s vote does keep the door open for groups to sue the school district citing a violation of the first amendment.