Calif. school district removes prayer poster after FFRF communiqué

Calif. school district removes prayer poster after FFRF communiqué

A California school district has swiftly made certain that its schools are more inclusive after the Freedom From Religion Foundation alerted it about a problematic poster pushing prayer and Jesus.

A concerned Victor Valley Union High School District student had informed the state/church watchdog that Adelanto High School displayed a religious message in the girls’ bathroom near its front office: “Wash your HANDS and say your PRAYERS because Jesus and GERMS ARE EVERYWHERE.” The student found this Christian message in the public school bathroom to be creepy and confusing.

The district was contravening the Constitution by allowing its schools to display religious symbols or messages, FFRF emphasized in its communication to the school district.

“It is well settled that public schools may not show favoritism towards or coerce belief or participation in religion,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to Superintendent Carl J. Coles. “This display violates this basic constitutional prohibition by creating the appearance that the district prefers religion over nonreligion and Christianity over all other faiths.”

Plus, FFRF pointed out, such a religious display needlessly excludes and alienates those students who are a part of the 49 percent of Generation Z that is religiously unaffiliated.

FFRF asked the Victor Valley Union High School District to remove the display from the Adelanto High School bathroom in recognition of its constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion.

The school district was demonstrably receptive to FFRF’s request.

“The content referenced in your communication has been removed as of Monday, August 28, 2023,” the district responded within days of receiving FFRF’s letter.

FFRF appreciates the alacrity with which school officials ensured constitutional compliance.

“We’re pleased the district is now more inclusive and respectful of all of its students,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, “and that religion and school sanitation requirements are being kept separate.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 5,200 members and two chapters in California. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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