FFRF thwarts religious assembly in public high school (June 18, 2014)

Onaway Area Community School District in Onaway, Mich., will no longer invite speakers with a proselytizing agenda.

Matt Fradd — who describes himself on his website as “a Catholic apologist and speaker” — was invited to give a presentation to Onaway High School students on the subject of abstinence on April 29. According to his website, his presentation “challenges audience members to open their minds and hearts and embrace the Church’s teachings on human sexuality.” Students were reportedly told, “Romantic love is impossible without chastity.”

FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote Superintendent Rod Fullerton on May 20, citing constitutional concerns over the religious content in the assembly. “Public schools may not advance or promote religion,” she noted, adding that regardless of the motives of the school, inviting such a speaker “gives the appearance that Onaway Area Community School District endorses the program’s message.”

Replying on June 18, Fullerton assured FFRF that the school “had no intention of violating any laws with this assembly” and that it “will not be participating in this type of assembly in the future.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation