Kindergartners will no longer be exposed to Christian evangelism during Bel Air Elementary School (Athens, Texas) field trips.
During three school trips to a pumpkin patch at Brand Cowboy Church in Athens, between Oct. 26-28, 2011, first-grade and kindergarten students had to listen to sectarian stories. One such story included a direct reference to Christianity: "God made each pumpkin different, just like he made each child different." Students also received a Christian-themed pamphlet, entitled "Bag of Jokes." This take-home pamphlet told students they were all sinners and instructed them to pray to God to ask for forgiveness. FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt wrote an Oct. 27 letter to the Athens Independent School District Superintendent in an attempt to intervene before the third field trip took place.
This flagrant constitutional violation was not resolved until Jan. 31. An Attorney representing the school district wrote, "To this end, it appears as if any such endorsement was done without knowledge or approval of the school district . . . The school district is confident that any Establishment Clause/Free-Exercise concerns have been addressed."