Altoona schools reach compromise
on Ten Commandments
By David Kinney, Associated Press,
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) The local pastor
says it is a victory for Ten Commandments crusaders. The school district
calls it just another addition to its ''character building'' curriculum.
Four months after a Baptist preacher
asked that the Ten Commandments be posted in every school, the Altoona
Area School District announced a compromise Friday, hoping to sidestep
controversy by putting the religious rules in educational and historical
''I'm confident that what we have
before you today is something that can withstand any challenge,'' said
the district's attorney, David Andrews.
The proposal does not include posting
the Ten Commandments.
Under the agreement, which still
must be approved by the school board, high school students will be able
to take a new elective course in comparative religion and form an after-school
Ten Commandments Club.
Also, the Ten Commandments and other
religious documents will be available in the libraries at every school
and religious groups could distribute literature to the students outside
the schools, although that is already allowed on public property.
It wasn't known Friday when the
board would take up the issue.
''We all feel very good about this,''
schools Superintendent Dennis Murray said. ''Perhaps this program will
evolve into something that can be packaged and modeled and we can distribute
it to other school districts.''
Among the proposal's negotiators
was Rabbi Burt Schuman of Altoona's Temple Beth Israel, who stridently
opposed the original proposal set forth in May by the Rev. Gary Dull, pastor
of the Faith Baptist Church.
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