Legal staff busy shoring up state-church wall

FFRF legal staff sent a wide variety of complaint letters in December, including the following. (See sidebar for Christmas and crèche complaints.)

Contact: Cherry Creek School District, Colo.
Violation: Teachers at Pine Ridge Elementary School hung two religious displays for Veterans Day: a “God Bless You” bulletin board and the poem/hymn “Lord, Guard and Guide.”

Contact: Palm Beach County Commission, Fla.
Violation: Commissioners take turns saying prayers at meetings, typically asking citizens present to rise for the invocation.

Contact: Texas A&M University, College Station
Violation: The college broadcasts prayers over the intercom at every Corps of Cadets meal.

Contact: Wicomico County Public Schools, Md.
Violation: Northwestern Elementary School described Mardela Springs Wesleyan Church as its “official Faith-Based Partner.” Students reportedly know the church’s pastor as the “school pastor,” and the church started an evening kids’ program at the school through which “many children have been introduced to the Gospel and have given their hearts to Jesus.”

Contact: Akron Public Schools, Ohio
Violation: A teacher at Buchtel Community Learning Center started and runs a religious club at the school.

Contact: San Juan USD, Calif.
Violation: A Spanish teacher showed a religious movie whose plot revolved around many aspects of Catholicism.

Contact: Oxford City Schools, Ala.; Cartersville City Schools, Ga.; Craven County Schools, N.C.
Violation: The districts hosted bible distributions.

Contact: Seminole County Schools, Fla.
Violation: Students at Lawton Chiles Middle School were presented with four cards to choose from to send cards to soldiers. One included a bible verse and another depicted a nativity scene.

Contact: Laurens County Schools, Ga.
Violation: Schools in the district regularly organize prayers before athletic events.

Contact: Brownwood Police Department, Texas
Violation: The department employs a police chaplain.

Contact: Vallejo City USD, Calif.
Violation: Superintendent Ramona Bishop appeared in her official capacity in a promotional video for a Christian dominionist group.

Contact: Clairton City School District, Pa.
Violation: Football coaches at Clairton High School engage in postgame prayers.

Contact: La Porte ISD, Texas
Violation: La Porte Junior High was scheduled to hold a choir concert in a church.

Contact: Mobile County Public School District, Ala.
Violation: A Semmes Elementary School teacher’s Thanksgiving study guide included overly religious descriptions of the holiday.

Contact: Marshall County Schools, Ky.
Violation: Benton Elementary School gave parents an ad for a religious program with school forms.

Contact: Frontier Central School District, N.Y.
Violation: Big Tree Elementary School’s principal regularly discusses religion at school-sponsored events. Past statements reportedly included, “We need more prayers in our school,” and, “I run Big Tree as a Christian school.”

Contact: Pennsauken Public Schools, N.J.
Violation: Pennsauken High School featured religious content, including prayers, hymns and a religious speaker at its senior awards ceremony.

Contact: Sheridan County School District #2, Wyo.
Violation: K-Life, a Christian youth group, circulates in school lunchrooms to proselytize and advertise K-Life.

Contact: Joshua ISD, Texas
Violation: A cross hung on the wall of the ninth-grade campus building.

Contact: Newton County Commissioners, Ga.
Violation: The commission approved a religious display that included the Ten Commandments.

Contact: City of Barberton, Ohio
Violation: The city’s offices close on Good Friday.

Contact: Bartow County Schools, Ga.
Violation: Euharlee Elementary School showed students a Christian film.

Contact: Cleburne County Public Schools, Ala.
Violation: An eighth-grade teacher assigned her students two religious books.

Contact: Okaloosa County School District, Fla.
Violation: Ruckel Middle School held a choir concert in a church sanctuary. The pastor addressed the audience and introduced the program.

Contact: Pratt USD 382, Kan.
Violation: Staff at the Haskins Learning Center distributed gifts to students with tags quoting the John 3:16 bible verse.

Contact: Moore County Schools, N.C.
Violation: Pinecrest High School held a soccer team awards banquet that began with a prayer for all students and attendees.

Contact: Wakulla County Commission, Fla.
Violation: The commission was considering a proposal to add “In God We Trust” to its chambers.

Freedom From Religion Foundation