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Barrow BOE to examine Bible class curriculum

WINDER - Barrow County school board members will get their first look Tuesday at acceptable material and curricula for teaching proposed Bible history and literature classes.

"There are several approved curriculums out there," said Lisa Leighton, spokeswoman for the Barrow County School System.

School board members voted in February to explore offering two elective Bible classes concerning literature and history of the Old Testament and of the New Testament.

State lawmakers approved legislation in 2006 allowing high schools to offer the courses. The state Board of Education approved curriculum guidelines for the courses in January. Curricula must abide by constitutional limitations that prohibit evangelism in the classroom and ensure classes are taught as academic pursuits.

Schools are not required to offer the classes, but if they do the state will pay for them.

The classes could be implemented as early as spring 2008 semester, but more likely would be available for the 2008-09 school year, Leighton said, if the system chooses to offer them at all.

A survey conducted in March at Apalachee and Winder-Barrow High Schools revealed that slightly less than half the students surveyed had interest in the courses.

A study committee formed in April to ensure state and federal guidelines were met, look at cost factors and determine the feasibility of offering the courses.