No extra schoolwork for students who don’t attend baccalaureate (May 17, 2013)

Students at Stilwell High School in Stilwell, Okla., are not required to do extra work if they choose not to attend a religious graduation service, called a baccalaureate, as the result of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s complaint.

A concerned parent reached out to FFRF after her student’s teacher required the student to do extra homework because she chose not to attend the baccalaureate. Teachers also gave extra credit to students who did attend the baccalaureate, which was privately arranged and not hosted by Stilwell Public Schools.

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel contacted District Superintendent Geri Gilstrap in a May 15 letter requesting the school not associate with religious events. Whether a student receives extra schoolwork or extra credit from their public school may not depend on whether they attend a religious event, Seidel noted.

The District’s legal counsel responded in a May 17 letter that the District will not be officially involved in promoting the baccalaureate in the future. The counsel emphasized the District will make sure no one feels coerced by the District into attending future private baccalaureates.

Freedom From Religion Foundation