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More preachin’ in school



More preachin' in school

Two weeks ago, it was North Little Rock High School, which promoted a Christian event in that city with posters and banners on the east campus.

This week, it's Benton's Ringgold Elementary that has run afoul of the First Amendment. For several years — at least six, principal Ann Kerr says — the school has allowed members of Gideons International, armed with copies of the New Testament and accompanied by the principal, to come speak to fifth graders about their evangelical work and make the copies of the Good News available to students.

A parent complained. Superintendent Tony Prothro said Monday the district was “trying to figure out what to do,” and will consult with Arkansas School Board Association legal counsel.

What's so hard to figure out? They need only consult the 1973 ruling by federal Judge Oren Harris that told the Cross County School district that its practice of allowing the Gideons to come speak to the fifth graders was unconstitutional. It was a long time ago — 36 years — but not forgettable.

Principal Kerr, who believed that because the Bibles were only left behind and not actually handed to children made the practice legal, should note what Harris wrote: “The Court has already determined that the Bible is an instrument of religion. The fact that it only contains the King James Version of the New Testament, Book of Psalms, and the Book of Proverbs, does not change the religious character of the Gideon's presentation to fifth grade students. The fact that a student is not required to accept the presentation is of no significance. ...”


New Boulevard owner

The owner of Boulevard Bread, the Heights purveyor of fine breads and gourmet cheeses, deli items and dinners, tells the Insider he's transferring ownership of the store to his ex-wife. In the short term, Scott McGehee says, he'll stay involved in Boulevard operations, which has locations at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the River Market as well. Eventually he will shift his focus to ZaZa, the Heights pizza and salad restaurant that he co-owns. Over the next several years, he said, he hopes to open between three to five new gourmet entities in the area. New owner Christina McGehee declined comment.


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