Teacher no longer leading devotions (April 2, 2015)

Akron, Ohio, Public Schools teacher Brad Lingenhoel will no longer lead a religious club at Buchtel Community Learning Center. FFRF received a report that a group called Buchtel Devo Group put on a program called “Wednesday Morning Devotions” in the library before school. Lingenhoel allegedly started the group and stated at one meeting that he wanted higher student turnout, taking it upon himself to individually invite students who had arrived early to school.

FFRF’s complainant reported that Lingenhoel said he wanted to invite a variety of people to lead the meetings because “the students would get tired of just teachers running the group.”

Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote the district Dec. 4: “As you are aware, school employees may not run or even participate in religious clubs in public schools, nor can they promote religious clubs or invite students to attend. Any teachers involved . . . may only be present at student religious meetings in a supervisory capacity.”

In a lengthy response April 2, the district’s general counsel noted several school policies that agreed with FFRF’s position and said Lingenhoel had stopped participating in Wednesday Morning Devotions.

Freedom From Religion Foundation