A religious display has been promptly removed from a South Carolina school following a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
A Palmetto High School community member informed FFRF that a framed prayer was prominently displayed on a table in the school’s front office near the spot tardy students are required to stand and wait for their temperature to be checked before attending class.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Anderson School District One Superintendent Robbie Binnicker, urging the district to immediately get rid of the religious display, since it constituted an inappropriate government endorsement of religion.
“Religion is a divisive force in public schools,” FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson wrote. “This display alienated nonreligious students, families, teachers and members of the public whose religious beliefs are inconsistent with the message being promoted by the school.”
The school district admirably remedied this issue immediately by taking out the framed prayer from the school office the same day as it received the letter of complaint.
“The sign was removed and the principal dealt with the issue at the school level,” Binnicker informed FFRF via email.
FFRF commends the district for taking swift action to address these complaints and taking a critical step to ensure all students’ views are honored. Given that almost two-fifths of younger Americans — those born after 1987 — are nonreligious, the presence of this sort of religious iconography in schools is not only unconstitutional, but particularly exclusionary.
“We applaud the district for taking action to remedy this violation,” comments FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Students in our public schools are free to practice any religion they choose — or none at all.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 33,500 members across the country, including members in South Carolina. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.