ACLU Challenges Distribution of New Testament to Elementary Public School Students

Freedom of Expression & Religion | Student and Youth Rights


In January, concerned parents from a town in northeastern Colorado informed the ACLU of Colorado that public school officials were offering free copies of the New Testament to all fifth grade students. The parents provided the ACLU with a copy of a “permission slip” which teachers had sent home with students, seeking parents’ permission to allow the school to give their children a copy of the New Testament. The parents’ told the ACLU that they had learned from other parents with older children that the New Testaments were handed out to fifth graders by the principal, in the principal’s office.

ACLU of Colorado Staff attorney Taylor Pendergrass quickly wrote a letter to the superintendent of the school district. The ACLU noted that courts that had examined “the precise issue of offering the Gideon New Testament to fifth grade students in public schools have consistently held such programs unconstitutional.” Pendergrass requested that the superintendent “cease its practice of permitting religious texts to be distributed students in its public schools.”


Taylor Pendergrass , ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney

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