A Baptist pastor will no longer be permitted to visit a captive audience of middle and high school students in the Wattsburg Area School District after the Freedom From Religion Foundation worked with a concerned local parent.
The Greenfield Baptist Church had been sending youth pastors to Wattsburg Area Middle School and Seneca High School for years, an attempt to recruit students to their church. FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert sent an April 26 letter to the District and pointed out how allowing a religious leader access to the students is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state. Markert said many parents were unaware that a pastor was allowed to talk to their children and promote religious events at the school during the lunchtime.
“It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for the District to offer a Christian minister unique access to befriend and proselytize students during the school day on school property,” Markert wrote. “This predatory conduct is inappropriate and should raise many red flags.”
The District’s legal counsel replied to FFRF in a May 23 letter that the pastor in question is no longer permitted to enter the school buildings to meet with students for any reason.