Freethinkers to display books in Casey County grade schools

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LIBERTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A Kentucky school district is becoming ground zero for a battle over free speech.

A Christian group, Gideons International, visited three elementary schools in Casey County earlier this school year.

An Atheist group, Tri-State Freethinkers, says it's their turn on Friday.

They will set up their displays at Liberty, Walnut Hill, and Jones Park Elementary Schools.

Carmen Foster is one parent in Casey County who thought about keeping her kids home.

"I work hard everyday of my life as a mother to teach my kids what we believe. If I don't have enough confidence to send them out in the world, then how strong am I with what I'm teaching them," Foster explained.

What Foster's children and hundreds of others will find, is a display of books.

The display is the work of the Freethinkers. They describe themselves as a group that stands up for the separation of church and state.

They chose to come to Casey County, because Gideons displayed bibles in the schools.

The Freethinkers wanted the same access. The Casey County News acquired a letter sent by the ACLU to the school district on behalf of Freethinker's President Jim G. Helton. It asks for the same opportunity to distribute literature in the same schools and on the same terms as the Gideons.

A children's book called, "Humanism, What's That?: A Book for Curious Kids" will be displayed. It talks about relying on science to explain the meaning of life, and not religion.

"Whether we like it or not. Our kids are going to go out in to this world. They are going to come across these situations. This is a good opportunity to teach them how to handle it," said Foster.

The displays will be up for one school day. They will be set up and taken down during off-hours.

No one from the Freethinkers will be allowed in the school while students are there.

Casey County School officials say they will allow equal access to groups.

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