FFRF schools Eastern Howard on Constitution, history

FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover sent a complaint letter Feb. 23 to Superintendent Tracy Caddell of the Eastern Howard School Corp. in Greentown, Ind., about statements Caddell made to the Kokomo Tribune about how the school district is mostly Christian and how schools strive to teach “Christian values” without Christian doctrine.

The article also quoted choir instructor Karol Evenson: “Before a concert or a show that we do, we always stand in a circle and pray. Most times I lead it . . . and sometimes a student will step up to do it.” She also noted that the annual Christmas program includes a nativity scene enacted by faculty members.

“It is irrelevant that Ms. Evenson claims that she has never received a complaint about these religious practices,” Grover wrote. “The Constitution is specifically set up to prevent government actors from treading on the rights of underrepresented minority groups.”

High school teacher Peter Heck talked in the story about two religious quotes on his classroom walls. One is a quote misattributed to President George Washington that contains historical inaccuracies.

“We imagine that as a history teacher, Mr. Heck will want to correct this embarrassing mistake for his students,” Grover wrote.

Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right law firm, contacted Caddell after seeing FFRF’s complaint. Grover wrote a follow-up letter to inform the district how Liberty Counsel often misrepresents the law and claims its legal services come at no cost to public entities, when in fact, school districts can be on the hook for considerable legal fees when they lose court cases.

Freedom From Religion Foundation