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Group asks board to consider offering course on Bible

| Tuesday, April 15, 2003

A group of Penn Township residents and several Penn-Trafford high school students petitioned the school board to consider offering the Bible as an elective course at the high school.

Mary Ann Adamik, of Level Green, a volunteer for the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, told the board on Monday that the class already is being taught in 33 states and in 228 school districts throughout the United States.

About 200,000 students in the U.S. are participating in this elective class," said Adamik, who presented the board members with copies of the curriculum, a textbook and a petition signed by 800 Penn Township residents.

Pastor Bruce Shaffer, of the World Harvest Bible Church of Monroeville, said the proposed elective would not impose any religious sect upon students, but would equip them with a fundamental understanding of the important literary forms within the Bible. The two-semester course also would focus on the influence of the Bible on history, law, American community life and culture, and provide students with an insight into the world view of the American Founding Fathers, delve into Middle East history, geography, religion and politics, and inform students of the importance of religion in world and national history.

Several students also voiced their approval in the proposed elective.

Our founding fathers used the Bible to base the Constitution," said senior James Goodman.

Dan Clair, also a senior, told the board he believed the class would "teach ethics and morality to students."

A teacher within the school district or another state-certified teacher could be hired to teach the class, Shaffer said.

"The teacher's salary could be paid by the school district and/or through the private sector," Shaffer added. "My church could help with that."

The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools is a nonprofit organization.

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