Bible curriculum resolution raises concerns - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Bible curriculum resolution raises concerns

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A controversial resolution is making its way through the South Dakota state legislature.

The South Dakota House endorsed a measure encouraging the academic study of the Bible in the state's public schools.

Like any legislation that concerns the separation of church and state, it's getting mixed reactions.

Tom Siebert lives in Aberdeen. He believes schools should revert back to the traditional values that America was founded on, like Judeo Christian beliefs.

"It would be good to start bringing some of that stuff back, and it starts in the classroom, starts at home, starts with parents, starts with your church groups, I think it's a really good thing," Siebert said.

Several people we spoke with disagree with the measure, fearing that it could infringe on First Amendment rights, meaning the government will not establish a state religion.

Stephanie Gubbins says the legislature is trying to encourage religion by teaching content of the Bible in public schools.

"The Bible kind of sways people to one side and I think it would confuse kids, Gubbins says. " I think that kids should grow up and decide on their own and not have it shoved down their throat in school."

 The resolution would encourage schools to familiarize students with the content, characters and narratives of the Bible as well as show the role the Bible had in art, literature, culture and public discourse.

Aberdeen School District Superintendent Gary Harms says he thinks the resolution is a good idea but the potential for teachers to use the teachings of the Bible as a platform for their own beliefs.

"I think the potential is there for that to happen, but then it's up to the administration to see that the curriculum is followed," Harms said.

As of right now the Senate still has to approve the resolution.

The Aberdeen School District says it has no plans in the works to add a class regarding Bible lessons unless students express interest.

Even if approved, public schools will be encouraged, but not be required to take part in the teaching Bible classes.

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