Atheist, agnostic books will be distributed in Orange County high schools

'Passive distribution' to occur May 2, according to school officials

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Representatives from the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Central Florida Freethought Community will be "passively" distributing atheism, agnosticism and secular humanism materials to Orange County high school students on Thursday, according to officials.

An Orange County Public Schools memo states the passive distribution will be allowed of the approved materials at Apopka, Boone, University, Cypress Creek, Evans, Edgewater, Wekiva, Colonial, Timber Creek, Winter Park and Jones high schools.

Passive distribution, as defined by school officials, states that approved materials must be placed on one unmanned table for distribution in a location where students are during a non-instructional time. A written disclaimer will be on the table saying OCPS doesn't endorse or sponsor the distribution.

The approved materials are as follows:

  • The Age of Reason
  • What They Said About Religion
  • Ten Common Myths about Atheists
  • What is Wrong with the Ten Commandments
  • What is an Atheist
  • Nontheistic Students in Your School
  • Humanist of the Year Award
  • Don't Believe in God? You may be a Humanist
  • Why Women Need Freedom from Religion
  • What is  Free Thinker?
  • Secular Student Alliance

Representatives from the groups aren't allowed to speak to the students and can't position themselves at the table throughout the day, according to school officials. The representatives must pass a background screening and be registered as a volunteer on campus.

CFCC  met with the school board in February to discuss the distribution of the atheist materials after the school board had previously allowed Bibles to be passively distributed to students.

The Bible handout was allowed after the World Changers sued Collier County School Board for not allowing the passively distribution of bibles. The outcome resulted in the consent decree, which allows the passive distribution of Bibles under certain requirements. The court order states that anyone must be allowed to distribute materials in a school, with certain exceptions, such as no promotion of drugs, alcohol, pornography and advertisements for products.

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