Public School District Lists “Belief in God” as Key Value

News Release and Action Alert

A public school district in Uniontown, Ohio, erred by listing belief in God” in its mission statement as a district “value,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation says. The Foundation sent a letter Aug. 26 to Lake Local School District after one of its Ohio members alerted FFRF, which has about 350 Ohio members and 13,900 nationwide.

The suspect wording was included in the August 2009 issue of Blue Streak News, a district publication.

In the Foundation’s letter, staff attorney Rebecca Kratz said no public employee may urge religious points of view upon students. “Listing ‘belief in God’ as an important value violates the First Amendment because it imposes religious sentiments upon students and their parents within the school district.”

An earlier district mailer, sent to all postal customers, had the same language. The complainant also told the Foundation that Lake Local had the same words on the home page of the district’s Web site but has removed it. However, “belief in God” is still included on Lake Elementary’s site.

The violation is flagrant and egregious, Kratz said. “The School District’s promotion of religion over non-religion impermissibly turns any non-believing Lake Local School student, parent, teacher, or staff member into an outsider.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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