Group warns public schools against visiting Noah’s ark attraction

Visitors take a selfie as a replica Noah's Ark stands in the distance at the Ark Encounter theme park during a media preview day, Tuesday, July 5, 2016, in Williamstown, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WILLIAMSTOWN, KY (AP) – A group opposed to a new Noah’s ark attraction in Kentucky says it is warning hundreds of public schools against visiting the Ark Encounter.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says ark field trips would expose children to religious proselytizing in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/29L7fsL ) that warning letters went to more than 1,000 school districts in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt sent a message to school districts Monday in response saying that neither outside groups nor state education officials should dictate field trip selection. A school’s site-based decision making council approves trips.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based group says it heard from parents concerned their districts will organize trips to the ark.

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