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Barrow BOE to vote whether to offer Bible-based classes

WINDER - Barrow County students might be able to take Bible-based classes as early as next fall. The Board of Education will make a deciding vote Tuesday whether to offer the courses in the fall, wait until 2009 or not offer them at all.

Senate Bill 79 was passed in 2006 allowing Georgia public high schools to offer elective courses in literature and history of the Old and New Testaments. The State Board of Education approved course standards shortly thereafter in the Jan. 2007 Board meeting.

The Barrow County Board of Education polled 3,216 students and 45 teachers at Apalachee and Winder-Barrow High Schools in the spring. The poll showed that 47 percent of the students expressed an interest in taking the classes, while 14 teachers agreed they would be interested in teaching them.

A committee made up of school administrators, parents, students, central office personnel, BOE members and local residents was formed to examine the prospects and feasibility of offering the courses. That committee voted to recommend the board offer the Bible-based courses in the 2009-10 school year, giving administrators time to more fully develop the curriculum and train teachers.

If the courses are incorporated in to the classroom, students will study literary style, structure of culture, customs, law, government, history, art, language and music of the Old and New Testaments.

Curriculums would have to abide by constitutional limitations that prohibit evangelism in the classroom and ensure classes are taught as academic pursuits.

SideBar: If you go

' What: Barrow County Board of Education meeting

' When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

' Where: 179 W. Athens St., Winder