FFRF ends religious music at Miss. school district (August 2023)

St. Martin East Elementary School in Mississippi has agreed to play secular music on outdoor speakers after FFRF took action.

A local parent reported that staff at St. Martin had begun playing Christian worship music outside of the school every morning during drop-off. The complainant reported hearing staff play the song “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe, which contains lyrics in reference to Jesus.

“If St. Martin East Elementary wants to play music during morning drop-off, there is a multitude of secular, school- appropriate songs to choose from,” FFRF Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Superintendent John Strycker.

FFRF received a written response from Jackson County School District Attorney Jack C. Pickett, detailing an extensive investigation performed by Assistant Superintendent Todd Boucher. “School staff have been directed that the music selections being played were to be non-Christian and/or non-religious based songs. The staff has since created a new playlist of music to ensure compliance with the aforementioned directive,” he wrote. He additionally assured that the most recent JCSD principals/administration meeting instructed all district leaders to follow the same guidelines at their respective schools.

Freedom From Religion Foundation