Grant County Schools promoting Christianity, activist group says

Tri-State Free Thinkers say parents are concerned
Posted at 4:13 PM, Nov 16, 2016

DRY RIDGE, Ky. -- An activist group concerned with the separation of church and state has made a formal complaint to Grant County Schools about Christianity being promoted on school grounds.

Jim Helton said parents have been raising their concerns to his group, Tri-State Free Thinkers, ever since it protested the Ark Encounter, a Grant County theme park built and operated by Christian ministry Answers in Genesis.

Violations include a cut-out of a student promoting religion, Bibles in the hallways and a picture, printed in a district newsletter, showing a prayer circle outside a school, Helton said.

Some high school students had to do a book report on Sodom and Gomorrah, he said, and there's a pastor of the high school.

The parents' concern is discrimination against non-Christian students, Helton said.

"These things are illegal. They are against the law. We’re not the bad guys... We're calling out their illegal activities and standing up for parents and students who are being discriminated against," he said.

Parents who spoke to WCPO on Wednesday didn't agree with Helton's concerns.

"I think it's totally harmless," Brandi Milburn said. "I think it would actually do these kids some good."

Documented violations go back to 2009, Helton said. He sent a letter to Grant County Schools Superintendent Ronald Gene Livingood about the complaints this week, and he said he's waiting 30 days for a response before filing a lawsuit.

Livingood was out of town on business, and the district said he hadn’t yet had time to review the letter to comment on it. 

Helton said he'd like to see the district train its staff on the separation of church and state.

"Those teachings should be saved for their homes or their church," he said.