After hearing from FFRF, religious invocations at mandatory teacher appreciation events will no longer happen in the Springdale Public School District in Arkansas.
A district employee reported that a mandatory teacher appreciation event featured an invocation in Jesus’ name, given by a reverend. According to the employee, all district employees are required to attend the event and their presence is verified by sign-in sheets passed around by school principals. Despite being hosted by the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, the event took place on school grounds during contract hours.
“It’s unlawful for a school district to include prayer at a school-sponsored event,” FFRF Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote to Superintendent Jared Cleveland.
FFRF received an email response from Cleveland, stating that the situation had been addressed. “I have sent notification to the Springdale Chamber of Commerce asking for them to refrain from the practice in the future,” he wrote.