FFRF ceases ‘See You at the Pole’ event (October 14, 2013)

A concerned student from Columbian High School in Tiffin, Ohio, contacted FFRF about a “See You At the Pole” event, which has since been investigated and halted. This event was organized and promoted by a teacher at the school and involved pizza, devotion and prayer. It was also promoted by the principal over the school public address system, who called prayer “an important thing to do.”

On Oct. 8, FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel sent a letter to Superintendent Don Coletta outlining why this practice is improper and problematic.

“Even if a prayer event in your school is hosted by a student organization, adult participation and promotion are impermissible. In this instance, the comment made by Principal Verroco over the school P.A. system was certainly ill-advised, but the actions of Ms. Marshall were both inappropriate and illegal. As school employees, neither Verroco nor Marshall can be encouraging, organizing, or participating in prayer because public schools may not advance, prefer or promote religion.”

On Oct. 14, Superintendent Coletta satisfactorily responded, stating: “I agree, upon investigation, the principal’s announcement and the teacher’s conduct were inappropriate. I have taken steps with both individuals (and others) to make sure our personnel are both aware of the legal boundaries and that they act within them. I intend to monitor this situation in an effort to ensure both the rights of students and the obligations of the District are honored.”

-Compiled by Lauryn Seering

Freedom From Religion Foundation