ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. — A local church donated over 600 day planners to students at a middle school, hoping to encourage them ahead of the new school year.
Two passages from Philippians and Jeremiah were on the back of the planner, and Channel 9 learned the school cut them out before giving the planners to the students.
Parent Roger Hayes said he is in disbelief that East Alexander Middle School cut up his daughter’s planner in an effort to remove the Bible verses.
“That hurt my feelings, it really did. This society right now, I think we need God in our lives and Jesus in our lives and this tears my heart apart,” Hayes said. “Why couldn’t it be my decision or my child’s decision to take it off.”
Sulphur Springs Baptist Church said it reached out to the school this summer to find out how they could help and ended up spending more than $2,000 to have the planners printed.
“We just put them back there for encouragement. We know the school year ended rough last year. We know coming back with split days,” Assistant Pastor James Safrit said.
The school district said while they appreciate the community support, the principal believed including the scripture verses would violate a student’s rights.
Alexander County Schools sent Channel 9 the following statement:
“It is an individual student’s right to share their beliefs - religious or otherwise, but not the public school’s role to indoctrinate them with any religious teachings.”
The school district also said the principal was unaware when she spoke with the church that the planners would have the Bible verses on them.
Officials told Channel 9 that the courts have said that the Constitution prohibits schools from indoctrinating children and they believe providing the planners with the Bible verses would do that.
School staff passed out the planners to half of the student body this week. The district originally said they weren’t going to pass out the rest but after meeting with the church they decided to allow that to happen if the students wanted one.
Cox Media Group