What one Martinsville pastor thought was a kind gesture to students in the city turned out to be against school policy.
Now he's questioning the schools morals.
Pastor Bill Moss of Hill Memorial Baptist Church wants students to have the opportunity to get a New Testament Bible from Gideon's International. The problem is that's against Martinsville School Board's policy.
"It appears to me it's a political thing," said Bill Moss.
He isn't a member of the Gideon organization but was surprised when he heard from his friend who hands out New Testament Bibles.
"They weren't about to give them out in Martinsville City Schools I began to investigate a little bit myself, because that concerns me," Moss said.
His proposal sounds simple; sit a box of New Testament Bibles like this in the school for students.
"They have a right to accept or refuse. They're not forced to take it," Moss said.
He says the school board is making up students minds for them.
"Can the Gideon's pass out Bibles in schools?" I asked.
"If the school division approves them to do so they may," Heath said. "In Martinsville's policy we have determined that, that does not fall within out policy."
The Martinsville School board adopted a policy that falls under the limited open forum of Virginia law.
Anything outside groups want to distribute to students has to be from a government agency, like parks and recreation, or a non-profit organization. The information can only be for educational purposes.
"The distribution of Bibles, just to hand them out is not something that that we would consider supports the educational mission," Heath said.
Martinsville Schools superintendent contacted two lawyers who both suggests the policy stay the same.
Every school board policy creates its own policy and is unique to that district.
Moss says he plans to question the Martinsville School Board when it meets next month.
To put this in perspective, part of the policy in neighboring Henry County asks groups to contact the assistant superintendent for approval.