The Mustang School Board approved a new curriculum that will teach the history of the Bible.
The board voted in favor of approving the curriculum entitled ‘The Book, the Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact of the World’s Best selling Book’ at their regular meeting on Monday evening. The course is an elective, meaning it is not required.
Steve Green, president and CEO of Hobby Lobby, visited the school board in November to tell them of the new curriculum that he worked on.
He and his family own over 40,000 Bibles and he now oversees ‘The Green Collection,’ which has grown to be the world’s largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts.
Green is also working on building a national, nonsectarian Bible museum in Washington D.C. to house the collection.
"We wanted to find the leading scholars to help us and we pulled from this group to help write this curriculum and it will tie to the three parts we want to teach," Green told the board at the November meeting. "With the history, we want to show the archeological evidences of the Bible and then we want to show the impact of the Bible. Thirdly, is the story, meaning, what does the book say."
In December, the school board voted to send the curriculum through its new curriculum process. A curriculum committee looked over the material and the new course was offered to students in a pre-enrollment packet to see if it gained any interest.
"When we sent out our pre-enrollment packets we saw that over 170 kids wanted to take this class," said Superintendent Sean McDaniel.
Before voting on the curriculum on Monday, the board heard from Norman Berry, a concerned citizen who said he wished the board would not approve the course.
"I am a former employee of the school system and I have three grandkids going to school in this district," Berry said. "I am totally opposed to this class. I believe this is why our founding fathers created ‘separation of church and state.’
Berry said he believed there needed to be more public opinion about the course.
"I feel kind of upset that a well-known figure can come in here and push his agenda in regards to this class," he said. "I encourage the board to step back and think about this, it could save you a lot of trouble. Belief’s should be taught in places of worship."
School board member Jeff Landrith abstained from voting on the measure.
"I think the public should be able to look at this before we vote on it," Landrith said.
McDaniel told Landrith that the curriculum would be made available for parents to view.
"This is not a religion class, it is a class about the history of the Bible," said School Board President Chad Fulton. "There is a difference between the two."
The board went on to approve the curriculum.
McDaniel said the course could be available as early as next school year.
"The board has given us the green light so we will be working with our high school principal and our director of secondary schools with task of seeing how this class fits with the master schedule," McDaniel said. "So all signs show that this class will be offered to our kids next year."
McDaniel said a teacher in the district has offered to teach the course