FFRF unpacks religious permission slips from Texas backpacks (Feb. 9, 2012)

Weatherford Independent School District in Weatherford, Texas, will no longer allow Church groups to proselytize to elementary school children through an unlawful “Backpack Ministry” program.

Crockett Elementary school students received a permission slip to attend a church sponsored event on Jan. 19. First Baptist Church sponsored a food program and attempted to gather young students to help with the event. FFRF intervened through a Jan. 27 letter: “We are especially concerned about this, given the name of the program and the ‘optional’ portion at the bottom of the permission slip facilitating contact between First Baptist Church and participating familes.” The optional portion of the permission slip included an appeal to students and parents: “If you would like someone from FBC to contact you or your family you may leave your contact information here.”

“We believe this permission slip crosses the line by having the school serve as a conduit for church recruitment., and that the ‘optional’ should section should never have been included,” wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt.

FFRF received notice on Feb. 9 that the school district will not include “the optional language at the bottom of the permission slip” in any future correspondence. 

Freedom From Religion Foundation