No more religious trips at Texas school district (January/February 2024)

Santo ISD in Santo, Texas, learned a valuable lesson about taking students to indoctrination museums, and will plan secular student outings in the future, after receiving a complaint from FFRF.

A concerned community member reported that on Nov. 8, 2023, Santo High School students took a field trip to the Enduring World Museum, a museum founded “to teach Christians the history of their bible and to teach the history of written communication.” Ostensibly, the purpose of the trip was for students to view a replica of the Gutenberg printing press. However, the museum featured primarily Christian messages, symbols and iconography on display throughout the museum. One complainant reported that one wall display inside the museum stated that “facts disputing Christianity have been proven wrong and Christianity is 100 percent proven and is the most accurate recounting ever.”

“Even if attendance on the field trip was voluntary — though our complainant states that students and parents were not given a chance to opt-out of attendance — voluntariness is not a safeguard against violating students’ First Amendment rights,” FFRF Legal Fellow Sammi Lawrence wrote.

Superintendent Greg Gilbert reached out to FFRF shortly after. “Your communication is received without opposition,” he wrote. “The intent of campus participation was believed to be historical and secular in nature.” Gilbert concluded that the district will aim to be more cognizant in the future of the principle of state/church separation.

Freedom From Religion Foundation