Due to FFRF’s intervention, Manierre Elementary School in Chicago, Ill., relocated its kindergarten graduation from a church sanctuary to its banquet hall.
On June 10, FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover, acting on reports from a concerned community member that the ceremony was to be hosted in Moody Church, wrote Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Objecting to the location’s religious iconography, he stated that “this practice creates the impression that Manierre Elementary, and by extension the District, endorses the Christian religion,” and thus contravenes the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Grover also expressed concern about this inappropriate message being foisted on extremely young and impressionable children.
The next day, school attorney James L. Bebley replied that, “the school has arranged for the captioned ceremony to be moved to the banquet hall.” And “at our administrator training this summer, we plan to address again the prohibition on the use of religious sites for public school events.”