Some parents question Wisconsin school's religious ''released time''

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2000

AUGUSTA, Wis. (AP) -- Some parents are raising questions about a new plan to let students spend an hour a week of public school time at churches learning about religion.

If 80 percent of students in the Augusta district sign up, the ''released time'' class program will begin in September.

A school letter told parents that students who wish would be bused each Friday to churches while non-participating students attend study hall. Educational costs would be covered by religious groups offering the classes.

Some parents objected that the program would leave out certain students, force others to attend different congregations from those of their families, or usurp parents' responsibilities.

''It's not just allowing an activity. It's promoting,'' said one mother, Wendy Mosley.

But Jody Hahn, school board vice president, said, ''With everything that's happening in schools, we see this as a chance to do something for the students besides metal detectors and drug dogs.''

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