A mentoring group for children in the Lowcountry has recently been suspended for aspects of its teaching which has been deemed religious.
“We all know that mentoring can make a very positive difference in the lives of kids and so the object is to keep that mentoring in place,” Jim Foster of Beaufort County Schools said.
The Real Champions of the Lowcountry program is out of Beaufort County Schools for now, as Foster said the program was promoting only one religion. However, he added that he hoped the schools and Real Champions’ relationship can continue.
“There were concerns that there were religious aspects to the programs as it was working before. We cannot endorse a particular religion, we can’t promote religious activities. We all recognize the value that kids get from working with caring adult mentors,” Foster said.
The program was investigated and suspended after a parent complained about Real Champions’ message which reads, “This Christ-centered mentor has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, studies and tries personally to apply God’s word.”
The founder of Real Champions of the Lowcountry, Carl Martin, said they were not ashamed of the values they represent and stand for, adding, “our mission is to help at-risk children and their families while collaborating with other professionals who help them in the district.”
Martin further said the group helped mentor about 100 kids last year and has worked in seven schools this year and also expressed hope that the relationship can continue.
“We had a very constructive meeting at the District office and our lawyers are discussing the issue with plans to meet again.”
Foster expressed similar hopes that a solution with Real Champions can be found to “allow their mentorship to continue,” but added that in doing so they must also “comply with the law.”