No more religious fliers without disclaimers in New Haven Public Schools

FFRF protested fliers advertising a religious “See You at the Pole” event (scheduled for Sept. 22, 2010), which were posted throughout Wilbur Cross High School (New Haven Public Schools, Conn.). FFRF wrote the district noting that the fliers did not contain a disclaimer of any kind or any information indicating the sponsor of the event. The flier in part stated: “Take your place in history with millions of other students on this Global Day of Student Prayer. See You at the Pole can provide a powerful connection between you and the other Christian students on your campus to pray and reach out all year long. Be bold! Be unashamed! And stand in prayer with other Christian Youth for your Generation to be changed.”

“The school district should not approve fliers or posters for distribution or display unless an appropriate disclaimer is included to disassociate the school district from the religious organization or event. Without such a disclaimer, students are apt to believe that the school is endorsing the prayer engaged in during the ‘See You at the Pole’ event,” wrote Rebecca Markert, FFRF senior staff attorney. Future fliers advertising religious groups’ events at the school “should contain language to remove any perception of government endorsement,” she added. The district responded (Dec. 2, 2010): “New Haven Public Schools does not approve flyers or posters for display and/or distribution unless an appropriate disclaimer is included. Wilbur Cross has a newly appointed principal and I have met with the leadership team stressing the aforementioned concern. We are mindful of the religion/state concerns and have taken the necessary steps to avoid additional situations.” — Bonnie Gutsch

Freedom From Religion Foundation