Staffordshire schools stop Gideons from distributing Bibles

Two schools in Staffordshire have blocked the Gideons from distributing Bibles among their students.

Published 31 March 2011
Abbot Beyne School and Paget High School near Burton on Trent have reportedly instituted a ban on Bible distributions by the charity over fears that students of other faiths may be offended.

Maggie Tate, deputy head teacher of Abbot Beyne School, defended the move.

She was quoted by Burton Mail as saying: “The reason we stopped the Gideons coming in is that we are a comprehensive multi-faith school.

“We felt it was inappropriate to allow one faith group to distribute material in school.”

Don Smith, head teacher of Paget High School, said: “As a non-denominational school we do not allow any religious groups to come in and give out literature.

“If we allowed the Gideons into school then we would have to allow other groups too.

“While we teach pupils about different religions, we do not want people coming in to the school and pushing their own religious views.”

The Gideons have a long tradition of distributing free Bibles to school students.

One supporter of the organisation, Barry Martin, expressed his dismay over the move.

He was quoted by the paper as saying: “We live in a Christian country. I think that if the Gideons want to offer Bibles to children then they should be allowed to do so.

“Banning them is not right because these schools are trying to silence Christianity and we must fight to defend it.”

A spokesperson for the Gideons said that the organisation could not comment on the decisions of individual schools.

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