ACLU: Bible Courses in Kentucky Public Schools May Violate Law

Jan 9, 2018

Credit Elena Elisseeva, 123rf Stock Photo

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky is asking the state Department of Education to establish clear guidelines for teaching Bible literacy courses. 

The ACLU contends the curriculum being taught in some of Kentucky’s public schools violate the Constitution. 

The ACLU found that some districts are using online Sunday school lessons and requiring students to memorize Bible verses, among other things. 

In a letter to the Kentucky Department of Education, the ACLU asks for clear and concise guidance for teachers, as well as mechanisms for monitoring the courses as they are implemented.

"Otherwise, schools will likely face costly and drawn out litigation, among other consequences," the letter stated.

Education Department Spokeswoman Rebecca Blessing told WKU Public Radio that the state is in the process of creating those guidelines.

"Until these standards are finalized and further guidance is provided by the department, it is up to each public school district to ensure the curriculum used in any classes abides with the letter of the law and the tenets established by constitutional law," stated Blessing.

The ACLU conducted an open records investigation into the policies and curriculum for Bible courses in all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts.  While most school systems aren’t offering the courses, the ACLU found potential problems with instruction in five counties, including Barren.  Calls to district leaders weren’t returned. 

State lawmakers approved a measure last year that allows Bible literacy to be taught as an elective social studies course.