2 Richmond County schools added to Bible study program

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 7:37 PM
Last updated 11:05 PM
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Two more schools have been added to the Christian Release Time Program in Richmond County, an off-campus Bible study that takes place during the school day’s non-academic hours.

The Richmond County Board of Education voted Tuesday to add A. Brian Merry and Wilkinson Gardens Elementary schools to the six schools already participating.

“They just get really good moral training,” said board member Helen Minchew. “These people are good role models, and they care for these children.”

Students in the program memorize Bible verses, speak in front of their peers and are taught lessons from the Scripture, according to Laura H. Garner, the program director for Christian Learning Centers of Augusta, which sponsors the program.

The host churches near the participating schools provide volunteers who work with the children, with about three teachers for every 10 students.

The program takes place one hour a week for 20 weeks during noncore subjects such as physical education and music.

Wilkinson Gardens Principal Rickey Lumpkin said his fourth-grade pupils will begin the program in the fall, and the school could possibly add more grades in the future.

“I’m looking at every opportunity to engage our students in reading,” Lumpkin said. “The Bible is a great tool for that.”

Board member Jimmy Atkins said there is no conflict with church and state separation laws because the program takes place off school property, does not use school staffers and is not required. Parents must sign consent forms and be willing for their children to participate.

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GGpap
491
Points
GGpap 05/08/12 - 09:23 pm
4
5
Religious Brainwash

..."there is no conflict with church and state separation laws because the program takes place off school property.."

But, it does take place during school hours, irregardless of whether or not it is during core requirement classtime.

If there is any organized Atheist group in Richmond County it could request, and must be given, student release time in order to proselytize for their own interests.

If nothing else, a group of Unitarians should definitely get involved here.

Brainwashing children with one-sided religious phylosophies should be a criminal activity and parents should be charged with child abuse.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 05/08/12 - 09:39 pm
6
0
Chill out GGpap. The program

Chill out GGpap. The program is not required and the parents must sign consent form. If the Atheist group wishes to start their own program, go ahead, but I would venture to guess that the attendance would be somewhat on the low side. Bible study is not brain-washing. Evidently it has been a huge success if two more school have joined the program and parents are allowing their children to go. Since it is voluntary and no one is forced to go....what's your problem. You don't want your kid to go....don't sign the consent form. Simple. Just because you disapprove doesn't mean everyone who thinks it's a great idea, can't enjoy the benefits of this program.

scoopdedoop64
2353
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scoopdedoop64 05/08/12 - 10:27 pm
6
2
Amen ICL

That's right ICL. Plus praise God that we can give these children God's love and teach them God's Word...I don't care who complains...I just can do a happy dance because now more kids can are going to experience at least a little touch of Jesus in their lives!

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/08/12 - 11:06 pm
6
1
GGpap overreacts

"Students in the program memorize Bible verses, speak in front of their peers and are taught lessons from the scripture, according to Laura H. Garner, the program director for Christian Learning Centers of Augusta, which sponsors the program."

When I was in public elementary school, I was taught these same things. Our entire class participated. And you know what, I turned out OK. I got a good education, got a job, raising a good family, never been in jail, never did drugs, never joined a gang, and never had a kid out of wedlock. Never been on public assistance either.

We had the Bible in our public schools. But, I guess it did do some brainwashing because some things we never had were drugs, kids assaulting teachers, knives & guns in school, and few (if any) pregnant teens.

If this is the result of Bible brainwashing, then please bring it on!

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/08/12 - 11:19 pm
3
2
It never ceases to amaze that

It never ceases to amaze that the liberals and atheists demand all sorts of anti-Christian philosophies be taught and promoted in public schools. If Christians ever object, Christians are immediately branded as "intolerant" and "narrow-minded". Christians are told that if you don't like the class, don't attend it. Just shut up.

However, if a BIBLE class is proposed to be offered, guess who starts howling and shouting (e.g., first comment in this thread). If a Bible is brought near campus, the ACLU and American Atheists are brought in to keep that Christianity out at all costs.

If Christians simply say, "Well, just don't attend it", that's not good enough. We have to protest and complain, and threaten legal action.

There is no more intolerant and narrow-minded person than a liberal / atheist. They are "tolerant" until it comes to something they are opposed to. Then the rants are endless and the rage mounts.

These folks are nothing but transparent hypocrites that try to thinly veil their anti-Christian venom under some guise of "tolerance" or "inclusiveness". I get so tired of their duplicity and downright dishonesty. Why not just come out and admit that you are OK with everything being taught in public school EXCEPT Christianity? That is clearly your true agenda. Don't hide it. Go public and admit it. At least I could respect that more honest admission of your true agenda.

Frank I
1158
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Frank I 05/09/12 - 01:18 am
4
3
Alternatives

I don't necessarily care that they give a Christian option during non-core periods, but I feel that in order to do so they should also offer options that do not follow the Christian (more specifically, Protestant) faith teachings. Catholic, Muslim, Agnostic, Hindu, Buddhist. All these things should be offered, or none should be offered.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 05/09/12 - 05:27 am
3
2
"It never ceases to amaze

"It never ceases to amaze that the liberals and atheists demand all sorts of anti-Christian philosophies be taught and promoted in public schools" Yeah, like science and history.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 05/09/12 - 06:35 am
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Frank I, it is not the school

Frank I, it is not the school that is offering the educational program so the concept "they should also offer options that do not follow the Christian (more specifically, Protestant) faith teachings" really doesn't come into play. If the Catholic, Muslim, Agnostic, Hindu, Buddhist wish to start their own classes, as long as they follow the same guidelines as the Christian program, and it remains voluntary of students, I don't see a problem with it.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/09/12 - 09:00 am
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1
Science & History

Techfan, so great that you mention Science and History. Truth is, I have a B.S. degree in Science and a minor in History from a prestigious secular university. I'm also a Christian. I find no conflict between Christianity and this important subjects.

Care to explore more details? Always ready to help you understand things.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/09/12 - 09:08 am
2
1
Truth

Broaden the minds of students. Let them be exposed to other faiths and philosophies. Christianity has nothing to fear. Truth will out. It always does. The more folks investigate the truth, the more Christianity will shine.

The NT clearly teaches that we are to investigate all things, and hold on to what we find is faithful and true. There is no room for blind faith only. How can you love God with all your MIND (which is commanded), if you don't think and research other ideas?

I have tested other ideas. I am a Christian because of the truth. Any questions?

adonaips13
0
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adonaips13 05/09/12 - 08:56 am
4
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As a former volunteer for

As a former volunteer for this program i can tell you that it is completely voluntary. Parents have to approve and children show up ready to learn. In a society where EVERYTHING seems to be ok ...many of these kids have no real direction. This program and the volunteers give these kids a place to come and learn, be encouraged that there is hope and for many kids, its the only peace they have in a chaotic lifestyle. Ive seen the kids walk in those classrooms curious the first day and then come back over and over because they wanted to know more. They liked learning about Someone who loves them unconditionally. EVERY day there is an opportunity for them to leave prayer requests in a box for the volunteers to pray over. You dont know the heartache these kids come in there with. Death in the family, sickness and fear of parents dying and leaving them, family members in jail because of choices, but still it affects their thinking of law enforcement. This program shows them a better way to handle lifes situations. Without anger and violence. They are taught the love of Christ that surpasses all things and gives them a chance to CHOOSE Him. I agree that with freedom of choice comes the option for kids to learn about alternate forms of religion. But NOT one of those other options has ever been able to give the kind of confidence and hope that THIS life is not as good as it gets. NO other "idea" has ever been able to compare with the uncompromising Word of God. NOTHING has been able to lift these kids out of the sadness and put a smile on their face like the ONE thing and the One, Jesus, who promises them LIFE and life more abundant. So, just as in the bible..you can put your "gods" and ideas up against mine anytime. He needs no defending...He is the Standard.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/09/12 - 09:06 am
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Thank you, Adonaips13 (love

Thank you, Adonaips13 (love the handle, by the way).

I have an idea..... Rather than just providing uninformed, drive-by snide comments and derision, why don't we encourage folks like GGpap and Techfan to attend one of these sessions?

If they find it subverts their atheistic notions, they don't have to return and can complain about it here. But if they find out the truth, maybe they'll better appreciate what these sessions can do to help young folks find their way in a increasingly violent and self-oriented pop culture.

Keep up the great work!!!

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 05/09/12 - 09:15 am
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WOW! A sincere thank you and

WOW! A sincere thank you and wish I could give a million thumbs up! Well said Adonaips13! Thank you for your comment on how through personal experience you have witness how this program helps children.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/09/12 - 09:17 am
2
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Yeah, but sadly the

Yeah, but sadly the well-being of kids and schools is NOT the concern here. That's irrelevant. Remember, the agenda is to prevent ANYTHING Christian from creeping into our schools. It does not matter the good these programs do. It does not matter how lives are changed for the better.

All that these folks care about is that we simply cannot allow even a hint of Christianity in society.

swinter05
5
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swinter05 05/09/12 - 11:59 am
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0
adonaips13....wish I could

adonaips13....wish I could give you a high five right about now. No idea, no person, no wishful thinking, and no other "god" has ever or will EVER reign, above Jesus and what He did for us. Praise God!

Frank I
1158
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Frank I 05/09/12 - 12:41 pm
0
0
in response

ICL, It IS in fact, the school offering the options. The group may be offering the substance of the program, but it is the county BOE that is voting to allow children to participate. My concern is that they should be required to allow all options be made available. I have a strong suspicion that if a Muslim group (or any of several other ideological backgrounds) were to come to the Board requesting a similar program be made available to the students it would see staunch opposition.
Adonaips13 : Perhaps those sentiments may be true for you, but others may not necessarily believe such. I don't necessarily feel that the program as a whole is a bad idea. I was raised in a Christian family and as an agnostic (note: agnostic, not athiest. If necessary a Websters may be helpful in making the determination) I feel that there are certain aspects in the teachings of Christ, if accurately recorded, that are wonderful guidelines to life, but other options should be made available to the children as well. If these other options are available, and perhaps encouraged you can only result in a well rounded and educated adult who makes their own thought out decisions. This of course would also make the "howcanweknow" absolutely right.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 05/09/12 - 01:12 pm
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I guess it's a choice on how

I guess it's a choice on how you word it, Frank. IMO, the school is allowing the program but not offering it (meaning that the school and their staff are not giving the instruction), and since the program has been around since it was established in 1914, it doesn't appear that those of other religious affliation are that much interested, even though the option is available for any religion just as it is for Christianity.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 05/09/12 - 01:17 pm
0
0
church school
Unpublished

Well folks I went to school starting in 1952 and we never had a bible in any class I attended. And I think I also turned out all right. All I can say is lord help the little heathens that don't sign up for the brain washing. I say that because some teachers are highly religious and would view non-volunteers as needing a little extra watching. Now the questions. Currently, grade school kids are released into their parents care at the end of day or are supervised when they get on the bus. Are these kids just allowed to walk away from school? School kids are all different ages and segreated because of peer influence, so are these 1st graders associating with 6th graders in the same bible study? What is the greatest problem facing children today - obesity. So why are we allowing a program that directly affects health care of kids. And finally as a texpayer, if we don't need to teach kids but 39 hours a week then why are we paying for 40 hours? Think about it, why are we paying teachers if the students are someplace else.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/09/12 - 01:40 pm
1
0
I've always respected the

I've always respected the honest agnostic who is still searching. An open, unprejudiced seeking of knowledge and wisdom is always appreciated. As Jesus says, "Seek, and you shall find." So many great defenders of the Christian faith began their journey as honest, seeking agnostics (e.g., C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Chuch Colson, Hugh Ross).

What I don't respect is dogmatic atheistic assertions that have no basis in fact -- and we see so many of these random, unsupported posts here. I mean, how can you ever be a true atheist? There is no way to "prove" there is no God. You'd have to be omniscient yourself to prove God doesn't exist somewhere in the universe. Atheism, then, must be a belief system in and of itself.

Bottom line: I don't have enough faith to be an atheist.

proud2bamerican
441
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proud2bamerican 05/09/12 - 02:12 pm
3
0
approval

The program is parent initiated meaning that the principals are responding to what families are requesting for their students. When there is enough interest then the RCBOE must vote on whether to allow the school to participate, but it is not RC initiated. Independent studies show that this program actually improves student's overall academic achievement and it doesn't cost a penny for the schools or the children and their families; sounds like a 'win win' situation to me.

GGpap
491
Points
GGpap 05/09/12 - 02:30 pm
0
1
Liabilty

As Frank states (12:41 PM), "...it is the county BOE that is voting to allow children to participate...," I would add that in so doing the BOE has also obligated the school district to assume the liabilty for the children attending these religious classes. If there are school buses involved in the transpportation of the children to and from the site, liability also applies, if the transportation is provided by the religious group or institution is there appropriate liabily insurance for the vehicle transporting the children; and if a church bus is used, does the driver hold the apprpriate CD License (I doubt this). Off campus activities, during regular school hours, do not necessarily remove the onus of liabilty for the school district.

GGpap

GGpap
491
Points
GGpap 05/09/12 - 02:35 pm
0
2
Faith

HowCan (1:40 PM), cute.

I am as omniscient as is your god, and I do have faith in this truth. The fact that you do not have faith in atheism only proves that you do not know the truth.

GGpap

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 05/09/12 - 02:44 pm
1
0
GGpap

Great to know you are omniscient. Didn't know we were in the presence of deity here!

You sort of made my point for me. You said you "have faith". That was the only point I was making -- that you cannot prove atheism to be true. I'm glad you agree with me.

As you confirm, atheism is a belief system just as much as Christianity. If so, then why can you tolerate other faith systems like Buddhism, but have such a hatred for Christianity? What is it about Christ and his teachings that make you so mad, and have you denouncing all things Christian any chance you get on here?

If atheism is "the truth" as you claim, you must have good reasons for hating Jesus so much. Can you enlighten us a little?

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 05/09/12 - 03:05 pm
0
0
liability

There is no use of government school property, funds or anything else including transportation. There is no school liability once the students leave school property, and if they use bus transportation it is privately secured including properly licensed CDL drivers. This program has been facilitated at the request of parents for about ten years without incident to anyone.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 05/09/12 - 03:07 pm
2
0
GGpap, I understand your

GGpap, I understand your concern for church responsibility and the safety of the children who participate. Rest assured, all is in order. During the program, volunteer teachers meet the children at the school and walk them to the teaching site. It is usually a modified shuttle bus “classroom” parked in front or near the school or located in nearby churches, trailers, club houses, or a nearby building. No need for school buses or churches to obtain a CD License.

I believe what grips GGpap is the word “Christian”. So you are aware, out in the western United States a large group who participate in released time for religious studies, called “Seminary”, is the LDS students (which some will argue is or is not part of the Christian faith). Also in NY City they hae a Jewish Released Time Program.

GGpap
491
Points
GGpap 05/09/12 - 03:29 pm
0
1
HowCan, you are welcome to

HowCan, you are welcome to reread my former post (2:44 PM) and see if I actually am omniscient.

Buddhism is not a religion. My dislike of RELIGION, does not apply to just christianity; it includes the many too numerous to mention, and their 3000+ gods folk worship...or have worshipped over time.

See: godchecker.com

As to your claim that I hate Jesus, where does that come from? Where have I posted or stated that I hate Jesus?

I hate very few people, and your Jesus is not among them. I do dislike RELIGION, but not necessarity their founders. It is the followers that tend to stir my animosity; and thse, for the most part, are those that profess to be christians yet behave like the hypocrites they are.

GGpap

GGpap
491
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GGpap 05/09/12 - 03:33 pm
1
0
Thank you

ICL, thank you for the information you posted (3:07 PM)

GGpap

GGpap
491
Points
GGpap 05/09/12 - 03:38 pm
0
0
Disagree

Proud2B, I hope that will never have to find out the liabilty issue due to some catastrophe that may take place while the children are off campus during regularly scheduled school hours. Relying on the fact that the children are no longer on the campus is not advisable.

GGpap

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 05/09/12 - 03:50 pm
2
0
GGpap

I hear you. I tend to dislike most aspects of religion as well. Many religions are man-made, and in a lot of cases do more harm than good. So, I tend to agree with much of your sentiment here.

Now, however, you do say something very contradictory. You have a great contempt for Christianity, but do not dislike Jesus at all. OK. I'm confused. Christianity IS Jesus Christ. It consists of his teachings. So, if you like what Jesus taught, then, pretty much by definition, you have to agree with Christianity (which is based upon his teachings). Do you follow?

Now, if your dislike of the "Christian religion" is based upon how you see Christians acting, then again, I'm with you. Christians are supposed to reflect Christ in all things, but oftentimes fall far short in our attempts. We are imperfect people who screw up all the time. However, the Jesus we follow (whom you do apparently respect) is not imperfect. Like you, I greatly appreciate and revere his teachings. I try to live them as best I can, but certianly am not perfect.

As has been posted here many times before, you can't evaluate a belief system by the followers. You have to compare the source documents and founders, and their teachings. Look at the accuracy of their "books", and see where the truth is.

Jesus is so different. In his teachings, he claimed to be God on earth. Buddha never did that. Neither did Muhammad. Confuscious? Nope. Moses? No way. That's the difference. Now, either Jesus was a liar about what he claimed, or he was God. THAT is the real issue here, and sets Christianity apart from worldly religions.

Despite the banter, I do not believe you are all that far from Christianity. If bad Christians make you mad, join the club. Again, I'm with you. Unfortunately, I'm probably part of the problem. But, I assure you Jesus is not. Investigate him and evalulate his audacious claims. If you like what you read, carefully consider him as being God in the flesh -- as he directly claimed.

If those claims are correct, then I think you'll see things in a different light.

I wish you all the best in this quest for truth.

proud2bamerican
441
Points
proud2bamerican 05/09/12 - 04:02 pm
1
0
gpap-liability

Liability issues have been studied, reviewed and responded to by attorneys. A release form developed with legal assistance covers all liability issues; thanks for the concern.

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