Mentoring group suspended from Beaufort County schools for religious beliefs

A program that mentors children in the Lowcountry has been suspended for teaching more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

“We all know that mentoring can make a very positive difference in the lives of kids and so the object is to keep that mentorinig in place,” said Jim Foster of Beaufort County Schools

But for now, Real Champions of the Lowcountry is out of the classroom and Beaufort County Schools.

The school system is concerned about some aspects of the mentoring groups’ message.

“There were concerns that there were religious aspects to the programs as it was working before,” said Foster.

A parent complained about Real Champions’ religious message. Included on their volunteer page, this statement “This christ centered mentor has accepted christ as lord and savior, studies and tries personally to apply god’s word.” The school system investigated, agreed, and suspended the program indefinitely.

“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,” said Foster.

Real Champions of the Lowcountry founder Carl Martin told News 3 this about his group in a text message.

“We are not ashamed of the values we stand for.. our mission is to help at risk children and their families while collaborating with other professionals who help them in the district.” said Martin.

Martin says the group helped mentor about 100 kids last year and has worked in seven schools this year.

Both the school system and Real Champions hope that 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,” said Carl Martin.

“We are very hopeful we can work out a solution with Real Champions, something that will allow their mentorship to continue working with these kids, but make sure we comply with the law.” explained Foster.

Real Champions was not directly in classrooms but may have been mentoring on campus, before school or at recess.

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