Westside School Board considers creating course on academic study of the Bible

Published: Jan. 19, 2016 at 4:01 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2016 at 11:49 AM CST
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Westside School District is looking into working the academic study of the Bible into their curriculum.

So far, five schools in the state have such courses including Jonesboro High School.

"They do the class as a literature class," Westside Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Duffie said. "The two pathways that I think are most commonly chosen are history or literature."

The Arkansas legislature made academic study of the Bible possible in 2013 with the passage of Act 1440.

"The law is very specific on how it is to be taught, and what can and cannot be taught in the course," Dr. Duffie said.

At the Westside Board Meeting Monday night, members discussed implementing it there.

In a survey of high school students, 102 students, or 75% of those surveyed, said they'd be interested in the course.

Board member Josh Cureton said he likes the idea of being able to offer students more electives.

"Legislators have given us this opportunity, I think we need to take advantage of it," Cureton said. "We're always talking about broadening our courses and what we're offering students and it looks like there's plenty of interest."

Board members unanimously voted to continue looking into offering the course, which would be an elective.

Dr. Duffie explained that the next step is to develop a curriculum and get it approved by the school board.

The course must then go through the approval process through the Department of Education.

The board stated it was likely that the course would lean more to the historical studies of the Bible.

The school board also approved switching to block scheduling in the high school next year. It's something they said would help make more electives, like an academic study of the Bible, available to students.

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