Local public school districts are now considering offering bible classes as electives in their high schools. Texas State Board of Education members gave final approval to the new curriculum last week.
The bill was first introduced as a mandatory bible class in public high schools. After ten amendments were made to the bill, it is now set as an elective course, as long as it is taught as a history class and not pushing students to believe a certain faith.
Along with math and English, Lubbock public schools could soon be offering bible courses. "It's more of a history rather than a specific religion you cannot constitutionally talk about specific religions and encourage individuals to be of a certain religious faith or denomination," said Texas State Board of Education member Bob Craig.
Craig voted for final approval to offer bible courses as an elective in public high schools state wide. "There is some dispute. No question about it some people have indicated they would like to have more specific TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) or criteria for the bible courses and some people say what we currently have is sufficient and this allows the school district some flexibility in their program," says Craig.
Two school districts on the South Plains say they might consider the idea. "I think that we're always going to be on the cutting edge and looking for opportunities to provide our students with the courses that they would like to see taught," said Deputy Superintendent of Secondary Education of Lubbock Independent School District Dr. Fred Hardin.
Lubbock Cooper Superintendent Pat Henderson said, "We just don't have room for additional electives but it's something that we will look at and we will discuss it and if it's something our students and our parents are interested in we will certainly look at it."
Henderson says he didn't expect the bill to reach final approval. "I kind of was a little surprised but, as I said, there will be some challenges to it and we will just see how it plays out but for this next year, it's not something that we'll be considering," said Henderson.
The ultimate decision is up to the individual school districts whether or not to offer this course. The districts we talked to said it would depend on interest.
"I don't think it's necessary to have that in Frenship's school district it's more of kind of Trinity's thing," said one high school student.
"I think it should be taught everybody needs to know about the bible about the history what God did for us. I think it should be taught," said another high school student.
The American Civil Liberties Union says they are going to monitor the courses until they see what the school's curriculums are. The local ACLU president says this is not going to be a constitutional issue but he could see mainstream denominations not agreeing with what is being taught.
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