Letter sours school on religious tea (July 30, 2015)

Eighth-grade girls at Alice Robertson Jr. High School in Tulsa, Okla., have traditionally attended a religious “spring tea” event but won’t in the future due to Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel’s complaint letter. Students were taken annually to First United Methodist Church during school hours for the “abstinence-only” event hosted by Muskogee’s Pregnancy Resource Center, a “crisis” pregnancy facility.

Previous years’ events included prayer, religious music and adults recounting personal religious stories. Transportation was provided by “Okie Trolley,” a company that declares a commitment to “Christian faith” on its website.

“Due to the pervasively religious nature of the spring field trip, we see no reasonable alternative to canceling the event,” wrote Seidel.

The school made some changes but still held the event, which prompted a follow-up letter. Bryan Drummond, attorney for the district, replied to the second letter July 30. “Based on this entire situation, the District’s central administration has decided that in order to avoid any issues in the future, the District will discontinue its involvement with the ‘Spring Tea’ in any way in the future.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation