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Mercer County school board seeks to dismiss Bible in the Schools lawsuit

Attorneys representing the Mercer County Board of Education filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit that is seeking the elimination of the county's "Bible in the Schools" program. (Cropped Photo: Steven Depolo / CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ )

Attorneys representing the Mercer County Board of Education filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit seeking the elimination of the county's "Bible in the Schools" program.

Lawyers who filed the motion told WVVA-TV the case seeking the elimination of the program does not have legal standing because Bible classes do not begin until the first grade, the program is not offered at all schools in the county and that the suit claims harms caused by a hypothetical future.

The lawsuit aimed at eliminating the program was filed in January by the mother of a kindergartner, identified as "Jane Doe" and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The suit argued the woman's daughter would be forced to take the Bible classes, or risk ostracism as one of the few children who did not.

A county schools official told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the courses are voluntary, financed by a nonprofit group and that the system's 19 elementary and middle schools provide alternative courses at the same time.

Mercer County's "Bible in the Schools" program is in its 75th year of operation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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