School District Ties ‘Family’ to Christian Cross

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wonders if a Wisconsin public school district equates family values with the Christian cross and is asking the district to remove the cross from its promotional video.

The Howard-Saumico School District serves the villages of Howard and Suamico near Green Bay and operates five elementary schools, one intermediate school, one middle school and one high school.

The video, titled "I've Got a Place," is linked from the district's Web site to In the first minute of the video, Superintendent Damian LaCroix says, "Howard-Suamico is a great place to live, to work and to raise a family." As he says "raise a family," the image of a large cross atop a church steeple appears (but with no family in sight).

"The district should take immediate action to remove religious imagery from its promotional materials," wrote Rebecca Markert, FFRF staff attorney, in a Feb. 19 letter to LaCroix. The Foundation had earlier received a complaint from an area resident.

"Certainly, given the immense amount of footage show in the nine-minute video, there are more appropriate, secular images to display while discussing the benefits of raising a family in your district," Markert said.

The Foundation noted in its objection that courts have ruled that school sponsorship of a religious message "is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents 'that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community and accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.' "

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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