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The Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary wrapped up its first Coal in the Classroom program in the Raleigh County public schools with a field trip this week.
 
By The Associated Press
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BECKLEY, W.Va.  -- The Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary wrapped up its first Coal in the Classroom program in the Raleigh County public schools with a field trip this week.
 
Its pro-coal curriculum was piloted at a private elementary school last year.
 
On Tuesday, Stratton Elementary School's fourth-grade class traveled to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine for a firsthand look at an underground mine.
 
It's the first class in the West Virginia public school system to host the program. With the help of local retired teachers, the curriculum was developed by the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary. Regina Fairchild is the chairwoman.
 
"We just make it as lighthearted as possible but informative,'' she said. "We just want to educate them about our vital resource in our area and in the United States.''
 
The program consists of a coloring book that illustrates how coal is mined underground and at surface mines. It also shows how coal is burned for energy we use in electricity. And you can find phrases like "The advantages of coal'' and "Why coal is important,'' as well.
 
Some environmental groups say the Friends of Coal program doesn't belong in public schools.
 
Assistant Superintendent of Raleigh County Schools Janet Lilly says they are willing to look at any curriculum from the environmental community.
 
"We really looked at the curriculum and what they planned to do,'' she said. "We're open to any group that's willing to do the match and present the curriculum, and if there's someone that objects to the curriculum that's out there with the auxiliary, we'd be glad to look at their curriculum, too.''

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