Federal court clears the way for South Dakota teacher's involvement with Bible club

Posted: Friday, September 10, 2004

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) A federal appeals court ruling further clears the way for teacher Barbara Wigg to participate in an after-school children's Bible club held in city public schools.

Labeling it a free-speech case, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Sioux Falls School District decision barring Wigg's participation in an after-hours Good News Club that rents elementary school space violated school neutrality on religious matters.

''Wigg seeks nothing more than to be treated like other private citizens,'' the court said.

Two district policies were involved. One prohibits district employees from participating in religious activities on school grounds or at school-sponsored activities. The other allows community nonprofit groups, including churches, to lease school facilities.

The district said letting a school employee take part could be perceived as establishing religion in the district.

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