If you run a public elementary school in Oklahoma that’s about 20 minutes away from the Tulsa Zoo, it would make perfect sense to schedule field trips there.
So why did the Skiatook Public Schools take children on multiple trips to the Safari Zoological Park nearly an hour away?
One difference between the two zoos is that SZP has a very unique mission:
We believe that all we see and know was created by GOD ALMIGHTY. Our mission is to show the awesomeness of our God in the individual wonder and uniqueness of all His creation. That He has revealed to us through nature and creation that we are more than an evolved matter over millions of years, but made fearfully and wonderfully in His image, with an eternal soul. That through the will of free choice man brought sin into the world, but by the love of God he redeemed man back to himself through the life, death, and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.
Each person has a purpose in life being that we might help those who do not know or have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Remembering that we will all take our last breath someday, and to live an abundant life with hope, knowing that God someday soon will make all things new.
It’s more than just a mission, though. According to someone who visited the zoo with the schoolchildren, they also preached Creationism:
… “they spoke of God’s miracles, about how perfect God is, about the great flood, and tell students that god made all the animals.”
That’s only one of several church/state violations in the district, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation just sent the district a letter warning them of the legal troubles they could be in if they continue pushing God on the kids:
In addition, FFRF was informed that Marrs Elementary’s teachers have led students in prayer, specifically at a Veterans Day assembly last year. “Public school teachers and staff may not lead, direct, ask, or even encourage students to pray,” [FFRF attorney Andrew] Seidel informed the school, asking the district to ensure the prayer did not reoccur at this year’s upcoming assembly or any other school events.
Teachers at Marrs Elementary are also fond of emphasizing references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto, according to the complainant family. The school has posted a framed “In God We Trust” display on every classroom wall, and one teacher sent students home with a copy of the Pledge of Allegiance to memorize, boldfacing the words “under God,” even though students are free to amend the wording or not engage in the pledge at all, Seidel wrote, citing court cases.
Who knows how long this has been going on, but it will hopefully come to an end now that the district knows people are watching.