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Mercer County mother appeals decision to dismiss Bible class case


The Exponent Telegram

BLUEFIELD, W.Va.  — A Mercer County mother has filed an appeal to overturn a federal judge’s decision to dismiss her case involving a Bible studies class previously taught at public elementary and middle schools.

Elizabeth Deal, on behalf of her daughter, and a woman identified as “Jane Doe,” along with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed a suit against the Mercer County school district arguing that its Bible in the Schools program violated the First Amendment and the West Virginia Constitution.

Deal said that, after opting her daughter out of the Bible studies class at Memorial Primary Elementary School, her daughter did not receive instruction or enrichment while other students were in the class. The amended complaint also states Deal’s daughter was harassed while attending Bluefield Intermediate School during the 2015-16 school year.

The case was dismissed by Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Faber. Faber cited that Deal’s daughter was no longer enrolled in a school in the district, nor did Deal give any indication that she would re-enroll her if the Bible studies classes were removed. She therefore had no concrete interest on whether the classes continued or not, Faber said.

Faber also said in his opinion that, because the Mercer County Board of Education voted in May to remove the classes from the curriculum, there was no potential for students to suffer harm from classes in the future.

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