District policy regarding religious promotion in Michigan school reaffirmed (October 4, 2019)

The school district in Harper Woods has reaffirmed its district policy regarding religious promotion at staff meetings after intervention from FFRF.

A Chandler Park Academy School District employee reported that district leadership had impermissibly organized and led prayers during staff meetings. The complainant reported that during the first week of the school year, Chandler Park Academy Middle School principal Charles Rencher instructed everyone in attendance to bow their heads and pray to “whichever god we choose” at a mandatory staff breakfast.

FFRF Legal Fellow Dante Harootunian wrote to Board of Directors President Barbara Wyndler, reminding her of the district’s obligation to remain neutral toward religion.

Wyndler informed FFRF that district employees have been reminded they must adhere to the district’s policy explicitly forbidding proselytizing at staff meetings and events. “Staff members shall not use prayer, religious readings, or religious symbols as a devotional exercise or in an act of worship or celebration,” the policy reads. “The Academy shall not function as a disseminating agent for any person or outside agency for any religious or anti-religious document, book or article.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation