HUDSONVILLE, Michigan (WOOD) – After being arrested by a local civil rights organization, a Hudsonville elementary school ended a lunchtime Bible study.
Officials at Hudsonville Public Schools report that the Bible study group had only met twice and the teacher overseeing the meeting was unaware he was breaking any rules or laws. Deputy Superintendent Scott Smith said the administration took swift action in response to the complaint after the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists group contacted the school.
Hudsonville Public Schools issued the following statement on the situation:
“Mitch Kahle of the Michigan Civil Rights Activists Association (MACRA) informed the district that an elementary school teacher was involved in a Bible discussion with a group of fifth graders during lunch recess. The district administration verified the details of Mr. Kahle’s report, and the teacher (who thought the Bible discussion was appropriate because it was over lunch and volunteered) immediately ended those lunch meetings. We will continue to communicate and educate staff at all levels on district policies relating to religion in schools, ”the written statement read.
District leaders refused a request for a camera interview.
MACRA sent a statement announcing its victory in the cancellation of the meetings.
The Michigan Civil Rights Activists Association (MACRA) forced Hudsonville public schools to immediately end a teacher-led Bible study that was held weekly at Alward Elementary School in Hudsonville for many years. … In addition, this illegal and unconstitutional activity was ongoing. without parental notification or consent, ”the press release said. “A parent told MACRA that their child, who is only 10 years old, has been singled out and pressured by his peers for refusing to attend Bible studies.
“For more than 50 years now, the Supreme Court of the United States has expressly prohibited all organized religious activity in public schools, particularly where such activity involves teachers, principals, staff, or any adult, including volunteers, and is conducted on school property during school hours. “, Continued the press release from MACRA.
MACRA and HPS disagree on some of the facts surrounding the situation. MACRA maintains that the Bible study sessions have been held for years while the school says the group has only met twice.
The district is adamant that the school principal and other administrators were unaware of the meetings, a notion MACRA clearly questions.
“Assistant Superintendent Smith’s claim that ‘the district administration was unaware’ rings hollow, as Principal McClure and the teachers were most certainly aware of the longstanding transgression,” the MACRA statement reads. .
Deputy Superintendent Smith said the district had not received any complaints about meetings other than the MACRA meeting.
MACRA said its complaint to the school was in response to reports from families at the school.
This is not the first time that MACRA has challenged Hudsonville public schools on an issue like this. In 2015, the school was challenged to enable students to meet in an RV outside of school for a Bible study during school hours.