Group says it’s warning schools about Noah’s ark attraction in Kentucky

Visitors roam around a replica Noah's Ark as rain clouds pass overhead at the Ark Encounter theme park during a media preview day, Tuesday, July 5, 2016, in Williamstown, Ky. The long-awaited theme park based on the story of a man who got a warning from God about a worldwide flood will debut in central Kentucky this Thursday. The Christian group behind the 510 foot-long wooden ark says it will demonstrate that the stories of the Bible are true. Its construction has rankled opponents who say the attraction will be detrimental to science education. (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 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.

Related: Noah’s ark of biblical proportions ready to open in Kentucky

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