School board discusses religious teachings in the classroom


EATON — The Eaton Community Schools Board of Education met on Monday, April 11, and heard from several residents concerning the boards Released Time for Religious Instruction (RTRI) policy.

Six visitors discussed the board’s RTRI policy. RTIR is the ability to present religious teachings to students during school hours. All the visitors at the meeting wanted to enact this policy to bring Lifewise Academy teachings from a normal after school program to in-school.

Lifewise Academy has been strictly an after-school program for students K-5 during this school year. Many of those who spoke at the meeting mentioned the benefits Lifewise has brought to the students, including “teaching them compassion, trust, and that they are valued.”

Some explained that by bringing RTRI through Lifewise, they could continue teaching those values and reach all students without worrying about transportation or other issues.

After all the visitors spoke, board members all shared their opinions on the matter.

Some board members did not think this was the right time to be using in-school hours to teach ideals which were not core materials, especially for students who are only kindergarten-grade 5, citing the slow progress students have been making to keep up with the testing and noting, with state core materials it was not the time to use in-school hours for anything else.

Other members questioned why RTRI is in place at all if not to use the policy for an organization like Lifewise.

Board members entered into to an executive session to discuss the issue. After returning, board members Bryan Deacon and Ben Myers made a motion for RTRI for K-5 to be introduced next school year.

The motion failed with a 3-2 vote (Deacon, Myers, yes; Lisa Noble, Eric Beeghly and Terry Parks, no.)

In other business, Superintendent Jeff Parker presented information regarding plans to continue summer school for students in need and lacking credits to continue on. Students will not need to worry about transportation during summer school because it will be provided.

There will be approximately 250 students invited to join the summer school program to catch up if behind. The superintendent’s report also noted after-school tutoring will be restored for students who are slightly behind and would like that extra help.

There will not be summer school for grades 6-8.

By Callista Kisling

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Reach Callista Kisling via email at [email protected] or at 937-456-5553.

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