FFRF letter stops Arizona school district from mandating meetings in churches

The assistant superintendent of the Page Unified School District (Page, Ariz.) held a mandatory “professional development inservice” on Aug. 17 in a Mormon church. About 50 district teachers were in attendance. One of the teachers notified FFRF that he and several other teachers were offended and uncomfortable with the requirement to attend a government meeting in a religious place of worship. Foundation attorney Patrick Elliott informed the district superintendent (Aug. 24, 2010) that the district should have held the meeting in a secular place, such as one of the many schools within the district. “A church is not an appropriate place to conduct required training for government employees. The district must take immediate steps to ensure that no individual is required to attend meetings in a church,” the letter said. The district responded on Sept. 7: “Although the district believes that the convocation of the meeting at that particular site complied with the requirements of the law, the administration and Governing Board of course are sensitive to concerns of all their constituents. . . . Accordingly, in the future, the district will endeavor to hold employee meetings and other meetings related to district business in facilities not associated with particular religious institutions.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation