ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) – The Orange County School Board may stop allowing religious materials to be distributed in school after a satanic group asked to hand out an activity book.
Board Chairman Bill Sublette says, it’s time to focus on education, adding, “Religious instruction really belongs in the home not in schools.”
Orange County School Board members say they’re looking into changing their policy, regarding the distribution of materials to high school students. After a group called the Satanic Temple asked to hand out coloring books.
Sublette says, “The new policy, if it passes, it still needs to go before the board will prohibit the distribution of any religious materials in our schools.”
The board had allowed religious groups to leave bibles and booklets for students. Sublette adds, “The process was abused, we tried to have an open forum but it was becoming disruptive to our educational environment.”
Lucien Greaves of The Satanic Temple released a statement, calling the current policy, “a transparent attempt at giving exclusive privilege to an evangelical group. It’s laughable and infuriating at the same time to hear the ‘World Changers’ now crying that an inability to distribute their materials exclusively is discriminatory against them.”
Some Christian groups disagree with the decision to change the policy.
“The bible distributions are a good thing,” says Roger Gannam, of the Liberty Counse. “They haven’t caused any problems, but now by creating controversy this group is maybe perhaps getting what it wants.”
“They have adopted a strategy of all or nothing,” says parent Nanette Parrattl-Wagner. “And even though the attorney says it’s the only option they had. There are other legal opinions that I’ve personally found with local and national attorneys.”
After the request by the satanic group became national news, Sublette says he got emails from people all over the country.
“In my office alone I had received close to 11,000 emails in one period on this issue, and it gives you an idea of the level of disruption it was causing.”
The board will have a public hearing on the issue in January, a vote will take place a few weeks after that.