A concerned parent informed FFRF of a developing partnership between the Sweetwater Union High School District in California and Grand Canyon University, a religious institution that openly aims to instill Christian belief in its students. The district had allocated funding toward a program that allowed students to take classes at the university.
In a Dec. 17 letter addressed to President Jim Cartmill of the Sweetwater Union High School Board, FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel requested that the district drop the partnership on constitutional grounds.
“It is inappropriate for Sweetwater Union High School District to align itself with this Christian school. Offering classes that intentionally incorporate a Christian worldview, espouse the enclosed doctrinal statement, and create an opportunity for the Christian university to proselytize public school students is unconstitutional,” wrote Seidel.
In a response to FFRF on Jan. 21, the school’s legal counsel denied any constitutional violation, given that the purpose of the partnership was not intentionally to integrate Christian values in school. Instead, they argued that the program merely provided students the opportunity to take college-level classes.
Despite these claims, the complainant informed FFRF that the district has eliminated the program.