Will Westside Include The Bible In History and Literature Class In The Curriculum?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) It could be one of the few classes of it's kind in the area......and it could be coming to Westside High School.

Controversy may follow this class, but administrators hope the community will embrace it.

"It begins with the first book of the Bible.  The first semester it goes through and talks about the events of the Bible, figures, who they were, timeline of events...that sort of thing," said Westside Superintendent, Dr. James Best.

The title of the class is the Bible in History and Literature, but it's not a crash course in religious beliefs.

The class curriculum will teach the history of the Bible, it's not a lesson in theology.

"Religion is part of our country's history.  It's hard to separate the two, but it can be mentioned without influencing the way one might think or what there opinion may be," said Dr. Best.

Westside Superintendent Dr. James Best says like any other class students take, the person selected to teach the class will have to follow a curriculum---making sure it maintains a secular lesson plan.

"If we were to have this class next year, the instructor would have to be chosen with the same care that we would with any other class.  Once selected, we would have total confidence in that person to do the job," said Dr. Best.

"If Westside is allowed to teach the Bible in history and literature class next year, it will be offered to students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades...as an elective class.

"It would be a class that if a family did not feel comfortable with their child taking, they are under no obligation to take it," said Dr. Best.

Westside School Board members are now reviewing course material for the class.

The next step is to send a course application to the Department of Education in Little Rock for review.

If it's approved, Dr. Best says they will probably put the textbook and course materials on review for community feedback.

"This school district belongs to our community. It's not mine, it's not our school boards. It belongs to the community. If they don't want it in our schools we're certainly not going to push it," said Dr. Best.

If the curriculum of the class is approved by the state and board, the class could be offered to students as early as next fall.