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Anti-Religion Group Warns Schools to Stay Away from Ark Encounter


A securalist foundation has contacted thousands of schools in the Midwest warning them that taking a field trip to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky might get them sued.

The new amusement park in Williamston features a 500-foot replica of Noah's Ark. More than 30,000 people have visited the site in the last week.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is trying to keep school children from visiting the park as part of their schooling.

Officials with the organization say ark field trips would expose children to religious proselytizing, the Lexington-Herald Leader reported.

Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said the group sent letters to more than 1,000 school districts in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia.

"That would be completely inappropriate," Gaylor told the Kentucky publication. "This is an attempt to proselytize children. The public school is to educate, not indoctrinate."

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt notified school districts that neither outside groups nor Kentucky Department of Education should determine field trip selection but added that outside trips should directly correlate to school curriculum.

"It is important to remind educators that at all times and under all circumstances, field trips should be a direct extension of classroom learning," he wrote. "As a result, all off-site trips should be directly related to the school curriculum and should seek to maximize student learning by enhancing the classroom experience."

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