FFRF keeps religion out of Las Vegas school district’s official communications

Clark County School District logo

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has successfully stopped a Clark County School District teacher in Las Vegas from using their official school email to promote their personal religious beliefs.

A concerned community member contacted FFRF to report that a district employee included religious messages in their official Clark County School District email signature. FFRF’s complainant reported that they received an email including the religious message: “God’s love is like an ocean; you can see its beginning but not its end.” — Rick Warren.

“We understand, of course, that the district cannot monitor every email sent by employees,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to the district. “But we do ask that it take the appropriate steps to ensure that employees, including [the teacher in question], are made aware of their constitutional obligation to remain neutral towards religion while acting in their official capacity.”

It is well-settled law that public schools may not promote or show favoritism toward religion. The statements of a district employee through their official email are attributable to the district. It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for the district or its agents to promote a religious message because it conveys government preference for religion over nonreligion. When district employees use official channels of communication to promote their religious beliefs, it sends a message of exclusion that needlessly alienates the students and families who are among the 37 percent of Americans that is non-Christian, including the nearly one in three religiously unaffiliated adult Americans.

After FFRF sent the letter of complaint, legal representation for the district reached out to FFRF to inform it of its remedying actions.

“We have completed our investigation and updated our Acceptable Use Policy regarding taglines and email signatures,” the district’s Assistant General Counsel Alexandre M. Fayad wrote. The school’s updated policy prohibits usage of email signatures completely.

FFRF is pleased that zealotry can no longer slip through official school communications.

“Official email communications must be used for necessary, relevant information, not as a private pulpit for teachers,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor states. “The district made the right decision by keeping staff from using official resources in unconstitutional ways.”

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

If you are an FFRF member, sign into your account here and then update your email subscriptions here.

To become an FFRF member, click here. To learn more about FFRF, request information here.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Send this to a friend