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Kids fight on for recess Bible study

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An attorney for a then-4th-grader who was prohibited by school officials from holding a Bible study with his friends at recess time says an appeals court will be hearing the case to clear up misunderstandings – and even misrepresentations – about the situation.

Jonathan Scruggs, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said school officials admitted multiple times that Bible studies were not permitted at recess, so the district’s statements that the controversy developed out of a misunderstanding are incorrect.

And, he said, there are important constitutional issues involved.

It was in 2004 when Luke Whitson, then a 4th grader at Karns Elementary School in Knoxville, Tenn., would gather with other students under a tree at recess to discuss and study the Bible.

The discussions were entirely student led with no adult participation.

During recess it was common for students to gather and discuss other topics such as written materials, American Girl doll magazines and elementary age books such as Harry Potter, the case documents.

After a parent complained about the students reading and discussing the Bible, the school’s principal, Cathy Summa, stopped the students from holding their study; citing district policy that only permitted students to read and discuss the Bible during “free time” which was described as being before and after school.

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