Preaching on Indiana school’s social media ceases due to FFRF

A religious deluge on a public elementary school’s social media stream has dried up due to a Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint.

A local resident contacted FFRF to report that the official Facebook page of the community’s North Liberty Elementary School regularly had religious posts and messages. These included bible verses (such as 1 John 4:7 and Luke 2:9-11) with accompanying pictures, promotions of a church’s “Vacation Bible School” and a prayer event at the school’s flagpole, and various other posts advancing a Christian religious message.

FFRF stressed to the John Glenn School Corporation in Walkerton, Ind., that the posts showed a clear trend of promoting religion in general and Christianity in particular.

“Courts have continually held that public school districts may not endorse religious messages, including bible verses,” FFRF Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne wrote to Superintendent Richard Reese. “Publishing bible verses and advertising for religious instruction on the school’s social media gives the appearance that the school, and the school district, endorse those religious messages. It sends the message that the district prefers not only religion over nonreligion, but Christianity over all other faiths.”

FFRF sought assurance that the school’s social media page would cease spreading Christianity.

The school district has provided that pledge.

“The teacher who put these topics on the Facebook page has been directed to discontinue these types of posts in the future,” Reese responded. “I feel confident this will not happen again.”

FFRF welcomes the guarantee.

“Social media is a potent tool for molding young minds,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Certainly, elementary school kids should not be preached at through Facebook, and we appreciate that North Liberty Elementary School will no longer do that.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is dedicated to the separation of state and church, with 27,000 members nationwide, including more than 400 in Indiana.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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