Public school employees will remain neutral on religion in Texas (January 7, 2020)

The Lovejoy school district in Allen, Texas, has reaffirmed the need for employees to remain neutral on religious matters after a district parent reported that a school board members opened an official event with a prayer.

A district parent reported to FFRF that the Board of Trustees hosted a celebration and award ceremony for students from three of the district’s elementary schools. To open the event, then-Vice President Robbin Wells led the assembled students and their families in prayer. Attendees were reportedly instructed to bow their heads, before directing a prayer to Wells’ personal god — who, she made a point of clarifying, is Jesus.

FFRF Associate Counsel Sam Grover wrote to Lovejoy Superintendent Michael Goddard and Board of Trustees President Chad Collins, reminding the district that it is unlawful for a school district to schedule prayer at school-sponsored events like this ceremony.

The district’s attorney responded in January to FFRF’s letters with assurances that the district “is committed to ensuring that any potentially inappropriate religious prayer sponsorship by Lovejoy ISD employees does not happen in the future.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation