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Freethought Today · November 2015

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Legal complaint stops Texas school violations

A Texas school district will no longer let the high school principal preach to students or be involved with a religious after-school club after getting a Sept. 28 complaint from FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel.

A lawyer for the Prosper Independent School District responded that Principal Greg Wright will no longer speak "in his capacity as District employee at future on-campus, student-led See You at the Pole events." Attorney Charles Crawford also said the First Priority Club will be "student-formed and led."

An earlier Facebook post by parents promoting the club said Wright is "beginning an organization for students called First Priority on October 7 that will meet twice per month in the auditorium. They will sing, pray and praise.

"It's like FCA, but some tend to believe FCA is centered more around athletes so Mr. Wright wants all students to feel welcomed at his First Priority meetings. He said this morning [that] Christian faith is an active faith. He's encouraging students to be proactive and make their daily walk with Christ a priority."

FFRF first received a report from a family in the district detailing how Wright preached to students at the school's Sept. 25 See You at the Pole prayer gathering and that Assistant Principal Rachell Grant displayed a Latin cross and a plaque in her office. The plaque said: "God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorry, nor sun without rain. But he did promise strength for the day."

In the FFRF letter, Seidel also asked the district to be wary of potential bullying: "We request that PISD clearly communicate to students and staff that any retaliatory action taken against district families they might believe responsible for raising state-church issues with the school will not be tolerated."

Crawford said the district will "continue to enforce its anti-bullying policies" and bar display of religious items.

FFRF will bestow a student activist award on the complainant, whose essay will be published in a future Freethought Today.