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Supply list lands ETX school district in hot water

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LINDALE (KYTX) -- An East Texas school district is in the national spotlight after upsetting some advocates for the separation of church and state. One teacher's school supply list is at the center of the controversy.

Some of the eighth grade algebra students got a school supply list that included the requirement of bringing a Bible to class, and listening to the "Spirit of the Lord."

"We take it very seriously," Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt said. "We're very aware of the law. It was just a simple mistake."

He says Priddy never meant for those requests to make it to students.

"She knows that's not allowed at our school," Surratt said. "It was just a harmless error."

A statement directly from Priddy says she used to teach in a private school and "used a previous supply list and inadvertently failed to cut [the religious requirements] from the current supply list."

We showed the list around Lindale, and people were split.

"I would probably be having a conference with the teacher," Barbara Brown said. "I don't think those are things that need to be discussed in our classrooms."

"Kids need to learn about God and Jesus," Bud Morton said. "There's nothing bad that's going to come of it, so why not teach it?"

An unknown Lindale parent was upset when that list came home on the first day of school and called up the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

"I've been connected with FFRF for more than 30 years and the Bible says 'there's nothing new under the sun,' and the Bible is wrong because this is a new violation for us," FFRF Co-Founder Annie Laurie Gaylor said.

The foundation says having those Christian references on a supply list was a gross violation of the First Amendment and filed an official complaint with Lindale ISD.

"Schools are for reading, writing and arithmetic, and not religion," Gaylor said. "Who ever heard of the bible as a text for an algebra class?"

The district says that's an over-reaction. They say students received a new, non-religious supply list Wednesday, adding that none of them ever actually showed up with a Bible.

Surratt says they also searched Priddy's classroom for anything that would promote a religious point of view and nothing turned up. The district would not reveal whether she's facing any disciplinary action except to say they have reviewed this incident with her.

We've left messages for Priddy but she has not returned out phone calls. The FFRF tells us they're pleased to hear she regrets her mistake.

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