Weekly religion classes at public Kan. high school don’t add up (March 13, 2013)

A Haysville, Kansas high school will no longer invite local clergymen to proselytize students on a weekly basis, after the Freedom From Religion Foundation spoke up for a student who was pressured by a teacher to attend the classes.

The high school’s weekly religious class, called “Firewall,” was held every Wednesday in the school during the lunch period. Staff members frequently attended the event and solicited students to do the same. Posters advertising the religion class were placed around the school, and complimentary food was provided at the event to entice students to attend.

The school invited local pastors to give sermons during the school lunches. One of the pastors, after quoting copiously from the bible, told the students, “a life lived with God is more valuable than anything you can achieve.”

The pastors also led prayers during the meetings and solicited the students to attend their respective places of worship.

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel contacted Dr. John Burke, the superintendent of the school district, called USD 261, in a March 9 letter to request that the religion classes, organized prayer, and proselytization of students by staff and preachers be halted.

“It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for USD 261 schools to offer Christian ministers unique access to befriend and proselytize a captive audience during the school day on school property,” Seidel said. “This predatory conduct is inappropriate and should raise many red flags.”

Seidel also pointed out that one invited pastor, along with flagrantly violating the constitution, made several math errors while attempting to indoctrinate students with a math problem about Solomon and gold.

Freedom From Religion Foundation