The Wilcox Christian Learning Center is the result of a vision shared by many of the citizens of Wilcox County. Cindy Walls spearheaded an informational meeting last year in which Mrs. Terri Butcher of the Walton County Christian Learning Center spoke to us about the benefits of a released time Bible study class in cooperation with the public schools. Following that meeting, a steering committee was formed to bring the Wilcox Christian Learning Center into existence. A Board of Directors was selected and all of the necessary groundwork was completed to allow the center to begin operation at the beginning of this school year in cooperation with the Wilcox County Board of Education.
The WCLC represents a form of education known as “released time education” in which students are released from the public school for a period of time for devotional religious study off school premises. The legality of a Released Time program has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the decision, Zorach v. Clauson (1952). The only requirement for taking any course offered by the WCLC is written permission from a parent or legal guardian. Released Time programs recognize and reinforce the constitutionally protected right of parents to direct the religious education of their children. The WCLC does not discriminate against students and is a non-denominational program that offers the opportunity for all children to be released from school time for off-premises attendance at the religious education class. Before and after school programs would not allow equal access for all children due to transportation problems and extra-curricular activities.
Anyone claiming that these classes are a violation of the separation of church and state would be mistaken because there is absolutely no tax money being used to operate the class and the public school is not providing any resources. The WCLC operates at the pleasure of churches and individuals who give financially to support the program. We have received our 501©3 status so that all gifts are tax-deductible. We welcome the participation of anyone interested in helping this center to succeed in the task of Bible education.
Many organizational challenges have been overcome to bring the WCLC into existence but the availability of a curriculum that has already been developed and SACS accredited is a bonus that allowed us to proceed with classes this year. The Walton County Christian Learning Center has graciously allowed us to tap into their lesson plans and curriculum to follow a plan that has already been tested and approved.
Our high school class has 23 students enrolled this year. The students will receive a unit of elective credit when they pass the course successfully. The 8th grade will rotate each 9 weeks and we anticipate having approximately 100 students experience the middle school class. Our desire is to increase the number of high school students next year. At some point, we hope to be able to offer a course in Comparative Religions that is SACS approved for academic credit as a history offering.
The Wilcox Christian Learning Center may be contacted in any of the following ways:
P.O. Box 714, Rochelle, GA 31079
Email at email@example.com
WCLC phone – 229-399-0036
WCLC Director – Jim Wiley – (cell) 229-392-1966