If you’re an atheist parent, raising your kids without religion, at what point would you speak up if you knew their public school teachers were promoting religion in the classroom?
Would you say something if they were reading the Bible to students? If they prayed out loud to Jesus during a moment of silence?
What about if these signs were in the classroom?
What if your daughter came home with drawings of her classroom that looked like this?
Those are what prompted one parent to request the signs and crosses be removed. Unfortunately, that polite approach didn’t go so well.
Now the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center is involved. They just sent a letter to Quanah Independent School District in Texas to remind them of the law and, again, demand the signs’ removal from Reagan Elementary.
Affronted by these proselytizing displays in her daughter’s fourth-grade classroom, the parent promptly notified the administration of her concerns. But the administration refused to take action. Mrs. Jalomo informed the parent that the superintendent, Mr. [Ryan] Turner, told her that she is within her rights to have the displays in her room and that she would not have to remove them. Consequently, the parent contacted our office for assistance.
There’s bad information going around, then, since displays that promote religion are illegal. But if that’s too generic for your tastes, the student in question also pointed out to her mother that there were crosses in the room as well as a “fish.”
“The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause unequivocally prohibits public school teachers from using the classroom to proselytize Christianity and encourage young children to pray,” said Monica Miller, Senior Counsel at the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The teacher’s religious signs and crosses promote religion and coerce young students to adopt religious views in violation of the Establishment Clause.”
There’s no reason the District should be fighting this battle when the law is so clearly against them. Take the religious signs down, put up some motivational posters like everyone else, and get back to work.