A concerned parent reported to FFRF that a sixth-grade math teacher at Oakridge Elementary was regularly playing Christian music during the class period while students were working. Reportedly, this teacher also told students that “everyone needs a little Jesus in their life.”
“No public school employee may urge religious points of view on students. Elementary school children are especially susceptible to the coercive influence of religious messaging. When teachers promote their own religious beliefs to their students, they usurp parental authority,” FFRF Legal Fellow Samantha Lawrence wrote to Moore Public Schools’ legal counsel Phyllis L. Walta. “Students feel immense pressure to act like their instructors and peers and do as their teachers tell them. Public school staff and administrators should be aware of these concerns and ensure that all students are made to feel welcome in all classrooms.”
A response from Walta acknowledged the district’s violation and assured FFRF that it will not recur. “The teacher has reported that she did, in fact, let the students listen to a Christian station during class but that it will not continue in the future,” Walta wrote.