(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dave Bullock)
A Pagan mother in North Carolina is accusing her son's elementary school of hypocrisy for refusing to accept her donation of witchcraft books after officials sent her son home with a Gideon Bible, which was donated by the organization and accepted by the school.
Ginger Strivelli was angered last month when her 12-year-old son came home from North Windy Ridge Elementary school with a Bible that Strivelli claims was handed to him, instead of the student voluntarily requesting it. When Strivelli complained that the school was proselytizing, school officials said the Bibles were made available, not handed out, and that any faith group was free to donate texts.
Strivelli took the school at its word, bringing witchcraft books to the school with directions to make the texts available to students.
But the school rejected Strivelli's request.
Buncombe County School officials, who oversee North Windy Ridge Elementary school, have since commissioned a moratorium on making any religious texts available to students while it reviews "relevant policies and practices with school board attorneys," according to a statement.
The issue is expected to come to a head at a Feb. 2 meeting, when school officials meet and decide how to sculpt their policies regarding religious texts.
Public schools have two choices on the issue, according to legal experts: make no religious texts available to students, or make every faith's texts available. In other words, schools cannot discriminate which religion gets to share their message with students.
Strivelli said she brought the Pagan books to test the school's policy, not to promote her beliefs. She, and sources close to the school, reportedly believe officials will opt to disallow any religious texts on school grounds because the opportunity for chaotic multi-faith evangelism is too great.
Jan Blunt, communications director for Buncombe County Schools, told The Christian Post earlier this month that the school will consider the greater community's wishes before making a decision.
"We're quite a strong Christian community here," Blunt said. "We're the home of Billy Graham so we certainly have all of that community here. Where the school is located is also ... a strong Wiccan community."
"I think it just makes common sense, two wrongs don't necessarily make a right. So, in that vein, we're not taking any materials from anybody," Blunt added.
Gideons International said it does not usually condone the distribution of its Bibles in public schools. Ken Stephens, Gideons' communications director, said the group's focus is to provide Bibles to the lost and needy, not to offend students and parents.
"It is between parent and child what they deem appropriate, but I hope they don't find [receiving Bibles] offensive," Stephens told CP earlier this month.
Gideons does not hand out Bibles in an establishment unless it has the cooperation of the organization's management – in this case, the school board. The school board will decide presently whether such events may continue.
Strivelli is confident there is support to ban religious texts among even the religious community.
"Many Christians have stood up and said they agree with me too," Strivelli told Fox News last week. "Because, as much as they may like the Bible, they don't want Jehovah's Witnesses coming in with Watch Tower (magazines) or Catholics coming in and having them pray the Rosary."