Originally created 06/11/04

School board allows Bible study to go on



Marc Gottlieb was outnumbered Thursday when he argued against a Bible program for two Richmond County schools.

More than a dozen supporters sat around him wearing stickers in support of Released Time education. The group was eager to hear whether the school board would approve expansion to a second school.

Despite Mr. Gottlieb's objections, the school board voted 8-2 to allow the Christian Learning Centers of Augusta to continue its program at John Milledge Elementary School and begin a second one at Monte Sano Elementary School. Board members John Seitz and Y.N. Myers Jr. voted against expansion.

Children who sign up for the organization's program leave physical education class for an hour a week for Bible study at nearby churches.

Mr. Gottlieb told board members that the organization's positive evaluation of last year's Milledge program was a collection of subjective personal views. He said the program is contradictory to the goals of public education.

"You have chosen to utilize periods of physical education to allow participation," he said. "One only needs to look around those present here tonight to realize that we are a society bordering on the unhealthy. Our young people are not being prepared for the detrimental physical effects of our lifestyles."

He said he was disappointed with Thursday's vote and plans to continue his objections.

"I have to rally more people in the community," he said. "There are people opposed to this."

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.