Administrators at Azle (Texas) Independent School District cancelled a ministry-affiliated assembly scheduled for Oct. 29, after being contacted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The assembly was to be put on by a group, Seven at Schools, which is affiliated with the religious ministry Youth Alive North Texas, a “strategic outreach organization that maintains the vision of reaching every student in every school across the region and beyond with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ,” according to its website.
Despite the group’s claim that the assembly would have no religious content, a Seven at Schools representative told FFRF’s complainant that the personal stories in the presentation “would include religious themes, including discussion of God.”
FFRF Staff Attorney Sam Grover sent the district a letter on Oct. 28 asking the district to ensure the presentation would be secular. “Though teaching students about things like character building, substance abuse, peer-pressure, and bullying is a commendable goal, allowing a youth ministry access to your student body gives the appearance that the District endorses those speakers’ religious messages,” wrote Grover.
Acting on the advice of counsel, the district took even stronger action to ensure its students would not be proselytized and canceled the assembly entirely, according to local news reports. The Seven at Schools representatives gave a religious talk to Azle community members at a local church that night.