JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–A school bus driver was given a letter of discipline for distributing Bibles to students on her bus, prompting the daily newspaper here to address what it called a “Biblephobia boom.”
After picking students up Nov. 19 from Merrill Road Elementary School, the driver pulled out of the school driveway and stopped at the corner.
A man approached the bus and through a window handed the driver Bibles to be distributed to students.
Merrill Road principal Sonita Young said the Bibles were given by a man from The Gideons International, a group that distributes 56 million Bibles worldwide each year.
A school representative said the driver thought the man was with the school and accepted the books. Students sitting near the driver said they wanted the Bibles and she gave them out, Donna Alosa, a regional manager for the bus company, said.
“It all happened so fast that she didn’t pay attention to what she was giving out and that was wrong,” said Marsha Oliver in an interview with the Associated Press.
Jerry Burden, executive director of Gideons International in Nashville, Tenn., told WJXT television that the organization does not condone handing out Bibles on a public school bus.
Alosa said a letter condemning the incident was placed in the driver’s file and no other disciplinary actions would be taken.
The Florida Times-Union, in its Sunday editorial, condemned the disciplinary action, noting that “political correctness not only is alive and well, it’s thriving on Florida’s First Coast.”
“It turned out that he was with Gideons International, and the books were Bibles, which some seem to think are on a par with anthrax,” the editorial stated.
“One certainly doesn’t force something on other people by giving them books that they requested. The mystery is why her actions were wrong.”
“Young people need to read more,” the editorial continued. “If parents thought it would harm their offspring to read the Bible, that’s a decision they should make themselves. A school bus driver shouldn’t be expected to make it for them.”