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MS School District Routinely Ignores Constitution, Atheists Argue

October 10, 2019

For Immediate Release

 

Contact:

Sarah Henry, (202) 238-9088, shenry@americanhumanist.org

 

(Washington, D.C., October 10, 2019) – The American Humanist Association (AHA) legal team just admonished leaders at the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District in southern Mississippi after repeated constitutional violations.

These egregious violations of the constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state include a football coach who hosts weekly meetings for the team at a local Baptist church and repeatedly invokes Jesus in his accounting class.

 

“The Constitution emphatically prohibits public school teachers from proselytizing Christianity to students during school hours and during extracurricular activities,” said Monica Miller, the AHA’s Legal Director and Senior Counsel. "What we are witnessing in Mississippi is a flagrant disregard of students' unqualified First Amendment right to public education free from religious indoctrination."

 

The letter details six instances of one teacher unconstitutionally promoting Christianity to his students, including telling his class that "he hoped the students would all ‘find Jesus someday.’” It also describes a culture of Christian promotion in the southern Mississippi school district.

 

The American Humanist Association is demanding that the public school district adopt a policy that protects its students from proselytization, that the district then enforce that policy, and that the football team immediately ends its current practice of hosting team meetings at the Power House of Deliverance. The letter asks for a response within 2 weeks.

 

Read today’s warning letter here.

 

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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 worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in 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 and the Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

 

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