Texas school grows a spine, ends book deal (November 15, 2018)

A Texas elementary school has severed a partnership with a religious group after hearing from FFRF.

A concerned district community member reported that several teachers at Bridge City Elementary School had partnered with a religious group and allowed them to minister directly to students through donated books. In one class, students received a book, sent to them by their “prayer partner,” that contained personalized, proselytizing notes. Additionally, Bridge City Elementary publicly thanked these “prayer partners” on its official Facebook page.

“Providing students with age-appropriate reading materials is of great benefit to many families, but Bridge City Elementary cannot pursue that goal through a partnership that advances the mission of a religious organization,” wrote FFRF Associate Counsel Sam Grover. “The district may only accept donations that are free from the condition that the school promote a religious message.”

The district’s legal representation responded to FFRF’s letter of complaint, stating that the administration was unaware the books contained personal religious messages.

“Appropriate disciplinary action was taken as well as discussion of district policy and practice of non-affiliation with religious organizations,” the firm wrote to FFRF. “The district expects that this will resolve the issue but will ensure compliance by staff.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation