Even More Church/State Violations Uncovered in Texas School District; Is Anyone There Trying to Fix the Problems? October 9, 2014

Even More Church/State Violations Uncovered in Texas School District; Is Anyone There Trying to Fix the Problems?

A few weeks ago, I posted about the numerous church/state violations taking place at China Elementary in Texas’ Hardin-Jefferson Independent School District.

Just to offer some quick examples, the school’s Facebook page was full of mentions of the teacher-led “Hawks for Christ” group, not to mention pictures of teachers wearing club shirts — both of which are illegal:

Obviously, the concern here was that the kids would think their school was promoting Christianity, and that’s why it crossed the line. No one’s saying the kids or teachers can’t pray on their own time.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to district officials describing a few of the (many, many) problems at this school, and the school district finally took some action last week… by shutting down the Facebook page.

That’s it. That’s all they did.

It made as much sense as closing your blinds so your neighbors can’t see how dirty your house is. It didn’t fix the actual problem; it just made them look even more guilty than before.

Yesterday, FFRF sent the district another letter documenting even more illegal church/state violations in the district. While some of them were known earlier, one of them is brand new.

In fact, just days after the FFRF’s first letter was sent out, the principal and two teachers sent a letter to parents urging them to pray for the district and the religious groups. They also said an upcoming Hawks for Christ meeting would be student-led but urged parents to encourage their kids to attend and share scripture. Finally, they admitted staff members would be working to make sure there were no speaker conflicts.

A reader-submitted image. Ignore the misspelling at the bottom!

FFRF attorney Sam Grover writes:

The duties being taken on by these District employees… are exactly the duties that students are required to perform in a student-run club. If China Elementary students are unable to adequately organize and advertise for their own club meetings, then they are too young to be running a club. That is not an excuse to have District staff run the club for the students. The club simply cannot exist.

Of course that’s not the only violation.

There are Christian crosses on classroom walls…

… and the district allows students to recite a prayer over the public address system before football games, in direct violation of a Supreme Court ruling.

Oh, and this is the Hardin-Jefferson School Song:

Ever loyal to old H-J all the livelong day, she’s better than the rest, just watch us fight, Oh, say, oh yes, we’re fighting. For, we’re loyal to old H-J, grand old team have we. Fight fellows, fight, fight, fight and win the victory. (slower and softer) And when the year is over, God bless our school, we’ve done our best to mind the golden rule. We are always rooting, as you all know. For old H-J High School, we love you so.

This district is just ridiculous. Any one of these violations would have warranted a complaint letter, but this many in one place? Completely inappropriate.

And we haven’t seen seen what their science classes look like…

(Large portions of this article were published earlier)

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