Teachers Can’t Lead Prayer at “See You at the Pole,” AHLC Tells Texas School District
For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 119, email@example.com
(Humble, TX, Oct. 3, 2016)—The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center demands that teachers in Humble Independent School District in Humble, Texas, stop violating the Constitution by leading students in prayer.
On September 28, teachers at Eagle Springs Elementary School participated in and led prayers with students during a “See You at the Pole” event, which is organized by Christian groups across the country to encourage students to pray in front of their schools’ flagpoles. The event took place as students were arriving for the school day, with staff visibly participating in a prayer circle with students. A concerned parent reported the incident to the American Humanist Association’s legal center, which sent a warning letter to the district superintendent and the elementary school principal.
“Non-Christian students are marginalized by their teachers when they see them participating in sectarian, religious activity,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Public school teachers should be welcoming to all students, not appearing to privilege students of one religion over all others.”
“'Public school teachers and staff violate the Establishment Clause when they participate in group prayer with students on school grounds,” said David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association. “All students should have the right to be free from religious intrusion in their school.”
The American Humanist Association demands the school district to provide written assurances that teachers will no longer participate in future “See You at the Pole” and any other religious activities.
The American Humanist Association’s warning letter can be viewed here.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.