FFRF stops distribution of religious books in La. (June/July 2024)

FFRF stopped the Vermilion (La.) Parish School System from distributing books containing prayers to elementary school students.

A concerned district parent reported that Dozier Elementary School distributed a book containing a Christian prayer to students. FFRF learned that second graders were given the children’s book “Case and the Sugar Run,” which contained a Christian prayer on the end page.

“By distributing a book containing prayer and promoting belief in Christianity, the school usurped the authority of parents who have the constitutional right to determine their children’s religious or nonreligious upbringing,” FFRF Anne Nicol Gaylor Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Superintendent Thomas J. Byler.

Byler responded to FFRF via email, confirming that action had been taken. He assured that the prayer was not read to children during class time, as well as confirming that measures would be taken to prevent literature with religious tones from being distributed to students. “Administrators will be instructed to read all literature prior to distribution brought by guest speakers ensuring the central message of the product aligns to Louisiana curriculum standards,” he wrote.

Freedom From Religion Foundation