Grove, Okla. - The tradition of the Gideons handing out pocket Bibles to Grove 5th graders is pitting parent against parent in the Grand Lake area town and the school board is caught in the middle.
The board says a parent complained and threatened to sue over the practice, so the board has told the Gideons to stop.
That in turn caused parents to pack a recent school board meeting, where they voiced their support for the Gideons and the practice of handing out Bibles.
But Grove School Board Chairman Dr. Jim Rutter says none of the parents will be very happy if the school has to spend a lot of money on a costly legal battle.
"Simply a phone call to our legal counsel is $120 for ten minutes," Rutter said. "Nobody on the board is opposed to the Gideons or opposed to the Bibles. We've just got to do what's in the best interest of the school and avoiding lengthy legal battles."
He says the district actually has a longstanding policy against distributing religious materials in schools in accordance with state law, but it wasn't enforced until now.
He said one idea would be for the Gideons to hand out the Bibles to kids away from school property.