Garland ISD grandparent spoke before board of trustees

Garland resident Sam Tinsley brought up an incident that occurred at Schrade Middle School while picking up his granddaughter regarding the distribution of religious texts on school property.

During the Sept. 24 Garland ISD regular Board of Trustees meeting, a Garland resident spoke before the board during the public forum portion about an incident he witnessed at Schrade Middle School in Rowlett.

Sam Tinsley said that last spring when he was at Schrade to pick up his granddaughter he noticed some men on school property carrying boxes and handing things out as students were exiting. He said he asked one of the men what they were handing out and was informed that they were handing out Bibles.

“I’m not opposed to the Psalms or the Bible – I read it myself – but I asked him this question: ‘If someone came to you of the Islam faith and wanted to pass out the Koran, how would you feel about that?’ He said, ‘I would violently oppose that. I would be adamantly against that.’ I said, 'Why?' He said, 'Because our way is the only way.’ I disagree with that,” Tinsley said.

He brought this before the board to find out if the district had a policy in regards to handing religious texts on school property.

“If it’s approved by the school board I think they ought to have the right to do that, of all faiths. My faith is Christianity, but I support those of all faiths,” he said.

According to the district's policy, "Written or printed materials, handbills, photographs, pictures, films, tapes, or other visual or auditory materials not sponsored by the district or by a district-affiliated school-support organization shall not be sold, circulated, distributed, or posted on any District premises by any district employee or by persons or groups not associated with the district, except in accordance with this policy. The district shall not be responsible for, nor shall the district endorse, the contents of any non-school literature distributed on any district premises."

Mida Milligan, executive director of communications and public relations stated that groups who wish to pass out religious information are not allowed to do so on school property. As a result, they will often try to distribute material from the sidewalk, which is public property.

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