I’ll See Your Bible and Raise You a Pagan Spell Book

Last month a public elementary school in Buncombe County, NC was in the news because the school's administrators allowed Bibles to be distributed to students. Here's an excerpt from a story in the Asheville Citizen-Times:

Jackie Byerly, principal at North Windy Ridge, defended the availability of the Bibles. She said they were not handed out, and students had the option to take them. She checked with Superintendent Tony Baldwin and was given permission to make them available.

She said the Bibles arrived Monday morning from a local group of Gideons International, and the box containing the books was opened in the main office. Byerly said the students picked them up during their break time.

“If another group wishes to do the same, I plan on handling that the same way as I have handled this,” she said.

When I read that last quote I said to myself, "Self, I sure hope someone calls her on that." Thankfully my wish has been granted.  From today's news:

Ginger Strivelli delivered on her promise to bring Pagan spell books to North Windy Ridge after the intermediate school made Bibles available in December. She said school officials said they would allow for the availability of her materials, just as they did the Bibles from a local group of Gideons International.

When Strivelli brought the Pagan books to the school Wednesday morning, she said she was told “a new policy is being crafted.”

In all fairness the policy review is a direct result of the backlash from the Bible incident so I don't think this is necessarily an anti-Pagan move by the school system. I'd be seriously worried if they didn't have a policy review.

Having had three kids go through public schools I can tell you that elementary school was an interesting experience – the kids were like sponges soaking up what the adults at school spilled out of their mouths and I can tell you there were a few times I wondered what their teachers were thinking. My favorite example was when my son, who was in 1st grade at the time, asked me who I was voting for in the 2000 election.  I asked him why he wanted to know and he told me he really hoped I'd vote for Bush because his teacher told him Al Gore killed babies in Vietnam.  Seriously.  After several similar experiences through the years I came to the conclusion that elementary school teachers should stick to the same rules we have for polite party conversations: whatever you do don't talk about religion, politics or sex.

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